A Boston Red Sox starting pitcher finally notched a victory
It took until the final day of July, but the Boston Red Sox finally earned their first win credited to a starting pitcher this month.
Josh Winckowski tossed five innings in Sunday’s finale with the Milwaukee Brewers, allowing two earned runs on seven hits and a walk.
Boston’s bats woke up just in time, getting on the scoreboard with five runs in the bottom of the fifth after Winckowski had wrapped up his outing. The offensive outburst was fueled by four consecutive doubles with two outs in the inning.
If the Red Sox lineup had waited any longer to take the lead, Winckowski wouldn’t have stuck around long enough to earn the victory. By giving their starter the run support he needed, the Red Sox avoided making history in a bad way. The 2022 Pittsburgh Pirates and 1996 Detroit Tigers are the only teams in MLB history to go an entire calendar month without getting a win from their starting pitcher.
The Red Sox entered the day having lost seven of their nine games since the All-Star break. Their two wins during that stretch were both credited to relief pitchers. We have to go all the way back to June 26 to find the last win by a Red Sox starter. Rich Hill, who has been on the injured list nearly the entire month of July, got the win over the Cleveland Guardians that day.
Boston began the month holding a Wild Card spot but they’ll finish July in last place in the AL East and far enough from the postseason picture that they’ll seriously need to consider selling ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline.
The Red Sox went 8-19 in July with a roster decimated by injuries. Part of why wins were hard to come by from their starting pitchers was the lack of experience in the rotation due to those injuries. There was a stretch this month were Nick Pivetta was the only starter that opened the season in the rotation who was healthy. For the first time since 1945, the Red Sox used a rookie starting pitcher in four consecutive games – Winckowski, Kutter Crawford, Connor Seabold and Brayan Bello.
Those rookies flashed some potential but none of them are finished products and they would all benefit from more polishing in the minors. The Red Sox never expected to dip this deep into their Triple-A roster to fill out their rotation but their horrible injury luck forced them to rush some of their young pitchers to the majors ahead of schedule.
Entering the final day of the month, Boston was dead last in the majors with a 7.25 ERA from their starting rotation in July. Winckowski helped them finish the month on a high note but few teams are more eager than the Red Sox to flip the calendar to August.
The Red Sox narrowly avoided being on the wrong side of history with their win to end the month. Unfortunately, it might be too little, too late to avoid being sellers at the deadline.