Garrett Whitlock shines for Red Sox in first MLB start
Garrett Whitlock has been one of the only pitchers that Red Sox fans have been able to trust over the course of the last two seasons out of the bullpen; his start today builds his case for his addition to the rotation. Prior to today’s start, Whitlock has a career 1.84 ERA over 83.2 innings pitched. The righty has been putting up video game numbers since breaking into the league.
In the first start of his young career, Whitlock managed to shut down the powerful Rays offense in a start that Red Sox fans will remember for years to come. Over four innings, Whitlock let up just one hit with no runs, no walks, and seven strikeouts. What is even more insane is that he threw just 48 pitches, 33 of which were strikes. Whitlock looked like a righty Chris Sale with the amount of dominance he displayed.
Whitlock will earn a no-decision for yesterday’s heroic start, which is disappointing considering how amazing he was on the hill. The Red Sox offense continues to struggle and places a lot more pressure on the pitching staff. Come summer, hopefully, the bats start to get as hot as they should be.
Having signed a four-year deal earlier this month, with a lot of incentives based on innings pitched, it’s clear what the Red Sox’s intentions are. What the Red Sox see is a top of the rotation guy who will lead them to wins. Alex Cora has made it clear that they want to stretch out his innings and those longer relief outings are all building toward becoming a full-time starter.
Whitlock has one of the dirtiest arsenals in all of baseball. His sinker makes even the best hitters look foolish. To match that sinker up with a curveball and a changeup, it’s nearly impossible for a hitter to get a pitch to hit. That’s all without mentioning his fastball which was living in the 95-97 mph range yesterday.
Locking up Whitlock, and his continued success can settle worries for Red Sox fans. Chris Sale hasn’t been able to contribute since 2019 and who knows if he will be able to return to form. Nathan Eovaldi is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season and the future is uncertain for the two-time Tommy John fireballer.
While it would be nice to get him back, the Red Sox have much more to worry about next offseason with Bogaerts and Devers. So locking up Whitlock and, hopefully, adding him to the rotation, will fill the holes that are inevitable in the rotation. Boston has some solid pitching in the minors that can all become role players as the years go on as well.
Whitlock has more than proved that he deserves a spot in the rotation, he is just in a bad situation since the bullpen is so bad. He has to do the dirty work out of the pen because no one else will step up and perform. In the years to come, however, expect to see Whitlock atop the rotation vying for a Cy Young with the best that baseball has to offer.