The Red Sox starting pitching needs to stay healthy
This is the biggest question mark heading into the season for the Sox. We know how the rotation is going to shake out starting this upcoming Thursday in The Bronx: Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck, Michael Wacha, and Rich Hill. Chris Sale was just placed on the 60-day injured list so we know he will not be returning until at least June. James Paxton is in the same boat as Sale returning sometime in June while he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
Eovaldi, Pivetta, and Houck held their own last year. All three were reliable starters for the Sox during their run to the postseason. Eovaldi’s record was 11-9 in 182.1 innings pitched with 195 strikeouts, a 3.75 ERA, and led the league in games started with 32 and a 2.79 FIP. Those numbers led him to his first All-Star Game appearance.
Pivetta showed flashes of dominance last season that eventually led to a 9-8 record in 155 innings pitched with 175 strikeouts and a 4.53 ERA. He needs to work on his control (65 walks last year) to cut down on runs allowed. If he does that, he will be a great number 3 or 4 starter once Sale and Paxton come back.
Houck has the firepower to do well this season if given the opportunity which it looks like he is going to get to start the season. Last year, he pitched to a 1-5 record in 69 innings pitched with 87 innings and a 3.52 ERA.
Both Wacha and Hill have the opportunity to have bounce-back seasons with the Sox. Wacha pitched to a 3-5 record in 124.2 innings with 121 strikeouts and a 5.05 ERA in 29 appearances. Hill pitched to a combined 7-8 record in 158.2 innings with 150 strikeouts and a 3.86 ERA in 32 appearances with both the New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays. Both of these players have enough experience to come into Fenway and excel at the back end of the rotation.
If these five can stay healthy enough and get the job done until Sale and Paxton rejoin to provide more depth to the rotation, they will be set up for success.