Red Sox: Josh Winckowski’s debut didn’t quite go according to plan

BOSTON, MA - MAY 28: Josh Winckowski #73 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on May 28, 2022 during game two of a double header in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 28: Josh Winckowski #73 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on May 28, 2022 during game two of a double header in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /
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Josh Winckowski’s Red Sox debut missed the mark

Yesterday had the makings of being a great day for the Red Sox. Nathan Eovaldi once again stepped up as the ace of the staff in the first game of a double-header and they had a high-level prospect ready to debut in the nightcap. Unfortunately for Josh Winckowski, what could’ve been a dream night at America’s oldest ballpark turned into a bit of a nightmare.

The big Floridian lasted just three innings against the Orioles and would get tuned up for a total of four runs on six hits. Granted, three of those runs came by way of a Rougned Odor moon bomb, but that’s beside the point. It’s hard to tell how long Alex Cora had planned to use the rookie but surely he would’ve liked to see him for longer than we did.

Winckowski was humble and admitted he didn’t have his best stuff. A combination of not being comfortable with the ball and not having the control he’s used to led to his early exit. Both he and Cora spoke to the media after the game and each believed that yesterday’s start was one that could be built upon for the future.

"“Kind of really bad, if you ask me. Normally, I throw a lot more strikes than that,” Winckowski said. “It is what it is, so a really awesome experience.” – Per Michael Silverman of The Boston Globe."

Winckowski came to the Red Sox via the Andrew Benintendi trade with Kansas City and has quickly become one of the brighter pieces of that deal. Boston has a solid group of young pitchers making their way through the farm system right now and the righty is currently sitting 12th in the rankings, per Sox Prospects.

The right-hander was sent back to Worcester as he was just a callup for the double-header. He’ll be heading back to Triple-A with plenty to take away from his experience yesterday with a game plan on how to get himself back to The Show.

"“I think his stuff was OK, even in the third inning,” said Cora. “He had a good fastball. He competed. We just told him that. Forget the results, right? You pitched at Fenway Park. You think about it when you’re a kid, ‘I want to be a big leaguer.’ He is a big leaguer now. He pitched at this level. Obviously, there’s some work to do, but you can see the stuff. It’s really good.”"

When speaking to the media he mentioned the baseball feeling different than what he’s used to in the minors, which isn’t surprising at all with all of the controversy surrounding the balls the last few years.

It also may have just been a situation where he just couldn’t find his groove. Winckowski did mention that though he had some nerves he didn’t feel them enough to take him off of his game. He did toss two innings of scoreless ball until the Orioles decided that was enough and jumped him in the third inning.

"“I honestly wasn’t too nervous. The balls were a little different for me,” said Winckowski, who was 1-1 with a 3.13 ERA in Worcester, where he was sent back after the game. “Really, in the first inning, my sinker just kept taking off down on me, more than I’m used to. Then after that just started guiding the ball. Didn’t feel like I could let it rip, but it happens.”"

I’ve enjoyed watching him down in the minors and hope that one bad outing doesn’t derail him from what’s been a very promising year. He’s only 23-years-old which offers him plenty of time to continue honing in on his abilities. As it stands right now, he has a bright future and is factored into Boston’s plans for their pitching staff down the road. A little more time to cook down in Triple-A and I think he’ll be more than ready to not just pitch in the big leagues, but succeed there.

Next. 5 potential Red Sox callups. dark