Red Sox pitching staff performing at championship caliber level

MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 17: Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on September 17, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 17: Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on September 17, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Boston Sox pitching staff is locked in for the home stretch

The Boston Red Sox are riding a four-game winning streak, claiming sole possession of the top Wild Card spot in the American League in the process. They are 6-3 in their last nine games and while the winning percentage from that small sample would put them on a dominant pace, it’s the production from their pitching staff that has impressed the most during this stretch.

The Red Sox have allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of their last nine games, the club’s longest such streak since April 2018 when they went nine straight from April 12 – April 21, per Sox Notes.

Prior to this season, the last three times that the Red Sox allowed three runs or fewer in nine consecutive games were in 2018, 2013 and 2007. All three of those seasons ended with Boston celebrating a World Series title. So, yes, the Red Sox are currently pitching at a championship caliber level.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at the final scores during this stretch, which shows several games where opponents put up more than three runs. The 9-8 extra-innings victory in Chicago stands out. We can blame sloppy defense for allowing opponents to hang some crooked numbers in those games. All five runs that Garrett Richards allowed in relief to the White Sox were unearned due to a Rafael Devers error with two outs in the fourth inning.

The Red Sox have allowed at least one unearned run in five of their last nine games. We can’t criticize the pitcher for the mistakes of the defense behind them.

Pitchers are evaluated based on the runs against them that were actually their fault and there haven’t been many of them allowed by Boston’s staff lately. Red Sox pitchers own a 2.01 ERA in their last nine games. That is their lowest for any nine-game span in more than seven years (lowest since June 2014).

Boston’s pitching staff has been in the middle of the pack this season, ranking 15th in the majors with a 4.26 ERA. However, their 3.98 FIP suggests they’ve pitched better than their ERA reflects and places them seventh in the majors.

Red Sox pitchers are locking in when it matters most in the heat of a tight Wild Card race. Boston’s staff is fourth in the majors with a 3.55 ERA in September and they rank second with a 1.84 ERA over the past week.

The starting pitching has been strong over the last nine games.

Nathan Eovaldi: 12 innings, 1 earned run, 17 strikeouts
Tanner Houck: 8 innings, 6 earned runs, 8 strikeouts
Connor Seabold: 3 innings, 2 earned runs, 0 strikeouts
Nick Pivetta: 11 innings, 4 earned runs, 8 strikeouts
Eduardo Rodriguez: 6 innings, 1 earned run, 6 strikeouts
Chris Sale: 5 innings, 1 earned run, 1 strikeout

Seabold had a short leash in his major league debut when he got a spot start while Sale was on the COVID-IL. The ace has since returned to reclaim his rotation spot.

Houck is the only starter who struggled during this stretch but he’s since been moved to the bullpen with the Red Sox planning to finish the season with a four-man rotation. The rookie finally notched his first win of the season when he tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief on Saturday.

As good as the rotation has been, the bullpen has been utterly dominant. Red Sox relievers haven’t allowed an earned run in their last 21 innings. They’ve allowed only one earned runs in their last 29 1/3 innings (0.31 ERA) and two earned runs in their last 35 2/3 innings (0.50 ERA).

Boston’s pitching staff was ravaged by injuries and COVID-19 but they finally have most of their key pieces back on the active roster. The rotation and bullpen are both as healthy as they have been all season.

The overall numbers might not seem dominant but the Red Sox pitching staff is at full strength and performing as well as they have all season just in time for the stretch run which will determine which teams advance to the postseason.

Red Sox benefit from Wild Card tiebreakers. dark. Next