Red Sox pitching staff's absurd start matters more than series vs Mariners

Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners
Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

After an offseason without many big additions in the pitching department, few experts and fans expected the Boston Red Sox pitching staff to be able to stave off opponents' bats.

But after its opening series against the Seattle Mariners, Boston's pitching staff shocked doubters. The starting rotation fared better than anyone expected they would.

Brayan Bello, Nick Pivetta, Kutter Crawford and Garrett Whitlock all started games against the Mariners in the Sox's four-game opening series. Collectively, they posted a 1.64 ERA and 27 strikeouts.

Pivetta started Boston's second game and it was reminiscent of one of his 2023 bullpen outings. Pivetta fanned 10 Mariners and let up three hits in his six innings pitched. Unfortunately, one of the three hits allowed was a home run from Seattle's J.P. Crawford and it was the only run of the game — George Kirby had an incredible night of his own against the Sox's bats and they were unable to overcome J.P. Crawford's lone long ball.

Is the Red Sox pitching staff...good?

Crawford started the following game for the Red Sox and posted similarly impressive numbers over six innings. He struck out seven batters, walked one for Boston's only walk of the series from a starting pitcher, and allowed just one run.

Whitlock started the series finale and, like Bello, he made it through five innings. He struck out eight Mariners and allowed three hits and one run.

Boston's bullpen has had an equally successful series. Chris Martin, Kenley Jansen, Josh Winckowski, Greg Weissert and Justin Slaten have all posted scoreless relief appearances, Martin and Weissert have two scoreless showings, each.

Winckowski is pitching with a bone chip in his ankle but showed no hint of a struggle in his March 29 outing. He entered Saturday's game in relief of Pivetta in the seventh inning and pitched two scoreless frames. The right-hander struck out four of the nine batters he faced and the Sox's freshly improved defense helped him out from the field.

Slaten also pitched another multi-inning scoreless performance for Boston in the final game of the series. He pitched 2.1 innings without allowing a hit and he struck out Dylan Moore to end the game and secure the series split. Slaten was a Rule-5 draft pick by the Mets in 2023 and the Red Sox needed to add him to the Opening Day roster to keep him on the team. It's only taken him to outings to show that he deserves his spot in the big leagues.

It seems that Andrew Bailey's training plan has flipped a switch in Boston's pitching staff and fans are already crediting him with miracles. The Sox's 2023 bullpen had a solid season — Martin posted the lowest ERA in the major leagues — but the success has spread to the starters, as well. Hopefully, Tanner Houck can continue the positive stretch through the Oakland series.

No one expected the pitching staff to be the bright spot of this Boston team, especially after the Sox lost Lucas Giolito to a season-ending injury. The squad has only played four games, and we hate to jump the gun, but if the staff can continue its momentum and Boston's batting order finds its footing, the Red Sox could give some of the other clubs in the loaded American League East a run for their money.

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