Coming into this season, The Red Sox’ pitching was ranked at the top, if not the best. The Red Sox acquired Chris Sale from the White Sox. Rick Porcello was coming off a Cy Young-caliber year. David Price was back, and hopefully healthy. Craig Kimbrel was coming off a 31-save year.
Although Boston sits in first place in the American League East, the pitching has taken a rocky path so far. Lets take a look.
Success: Chris sale
The American League All Star Game starting pitcher is on pace to winning his first Cy Young Award. The 28-year-old was traded in an offseason deal with the Chicago White Sox, involving four minor league prospects including Yoan Moncada.
Sale is cruising with a 13-4 record and the most wins in the American League. He has tallied a whopping total of 211 strikeouts, the most strikeouts in all Major League Baseball.
Sale is on track to tally 300-plus strikeouts. He reached 200 strikeouts in his start this past Friday against the Angels, making him the fastest pitcher in American League history to obtain 200 strikeouts in a season. Sale did this in 141 1/3 innings.
He joins Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan in reaching 200 strikeouts in less than 20 starts. Keep in mind, Pedro did this in close to 150 innings, also known as one of the best pitchers to wear the Boston uniform.
The Red Sox are coming off a 2-4 road stretch. Sale recorded both wins. In a 6-2 win against the Angels, Sale went 6 innings on four hits with nine strikeouts. On Wednesday, he recorded a 4-0 win against the Mariners, going seven innings with three hits with 11 strikeouts.
Sale is dealing for this team. Even in his four losses, he’s been completely dominant. He’s tallied a total of 45 strikeouts in his four losses. Truly, the Sox did not produce runs for him.
Sale is the best pitcher in the American League, if not Major League Baseball. He will continue to dominate.
Success: Drew Pomeranz
For a guy who went 3-5 last season with a 4.59 ERA, Drew Pomeranz has made a complete turnaround for the first place Boston Red Sox.
Pomeranz has turned his record to an impressive 10-4 year. Yes, three wins shy of Chris Sale’s record, the American League Cy Young contender. Pomeranz has tallied 115 strikeouts on a 3.59 ERA.
Quite frankly, whatever Pomeranz did for change, its working. He’s defeated second-place rival New York Yankees twice this season, recording 14 strikeouts against them. He tossed 6 1/3 innings and only allowed four hits in the win against the best team in Major League Baseball, Houston Astros.
The Red Sox expected this from the lefty pitcher when they acquired him through a San Diego transaction. Pomeranz was an All-Star at the time of the transaction, and David Ortiz was one foot out the door to retirement, urging the Red Sox to add another All-Star to the team. They needed to add a starter to join forces with Rick Porcello and David Price.
Pomeranz has taken responsibility for his mistakes on the mound last year, and has transformed himself to a top pitcher on the team.
This is exactly what Boston needs, especially when the playoffs come around. The Sox will need their rotation to belly up and give it their all. Look at the 2013 World Series team. Clay Buchholz went 12-1, Jon Lester went 15-8 and John Lackey recorded 10 wins. You need depth to go deep in the playoffs. The facts show it.
success: Craig Kimbrel
The Red Sox closer has been the reliable factor for manager John Farrell. Kimbrel has tallied 25 saves with nearly 80 strikeouts.
Kimbrel reminds the Boston fans of Jonathan Pabelbon and his dominance he had coming out in the bullpen in late save opportunities.
Kimbrel currently sits in fourth in the American League in saves, however many believe he is the best closer in the American League. He holds a 1.27 ERA, as well as a 2-0 record.
Boston looks to have Kimbrel keep his dominant self throughout the last two months of baseball.
failure: rick porcello
Red Sox Nation had big expectations for right-handed pitcher Rick Porcello this season. He was coming off a 22-4 year last season, capturing the American League Cy Young award.
Porcello was the Red Sox go-to guy, last season and this season. Yeah, they brought in Chris Sale, a guy who finished in the top five for the Cy Young race last season, but they were still depending on Porcello to be their number one guy this season.
Last year, he finished with a 3.15 ERA in 223 innings pitched, finishing an impressive 22-4 year. He tallied nearly 200 strikeouts and was completely dominant the whole way through.
This year, he has a 4-13 record with a sub-5 ERA through 133 innings pitched. He’s currently tied in six place for the most home runs allowed (23). Porcello has let up a total of nearly 80 runs, the most on the team, with the second most having 48.
Truly nothing what Boston had wished for.
However, this can all be forgotten if change starts here. We are only two months shy of October. Boston is on track to winning the American League East, and the Red Sox will need Porcello to do his job to get far.
Failure: David Price
Here come the true opinions. As we all know, David Price has been a dominant pitcher in this league for as long as we can remember.
He signed with Boston in late 2015, agreeing to a record-setting contract of seven years, $2.17 million. That said, Boston is writing a check for $31 million a year for Price.
Price recorded a 17-9 record last season for the Red Sox, making his Fenway career record a whopping 15-4. Pretty good, right?
Until, this season happened.
Price started off the 2017 season after missing two whole months with elbow pain. Not to mention at the time, Porcello was already starting his current cold streak that he has not broken out of.
Since he has formally recovered, he is 5-3 with a sub-4 ERA. Yeah, he’s pitched 11 games, but throughout those 11 starts, they have not been pretty. He has let up 62 hits with 28 earned runs, allowing eight homers and 22 total walks.
However, we know Price can tend to find himself with off-the-field situations as well. The Price/Eckersley altercation has stirred up in the media, finding yourself to have a new look on left-handed pitcher. For those who aren’t aware, Eckerlsey made a comment regarding Eduardo Rodriguez, which led to Price calling Eckersley out completely on the plane back home from Toronto.
Price, like Porcello, needs to find his old self back. We know what he’s capable of doing. If we didn’t, he wouldn’t be the big talk this season.
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