With just a pair of significant signings in David Price and Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox enter this season looking a lot like the same team that finished in last place at the end of the 2015 sea-son.
So far, starting off with a 3-4 record, they’re certainly looking like more of the same team, as well.
I write this article just watching Oriole short-stop J.J. Hardy blast two knockers around Pesky’s Pole in right field, thinking to myself, “another 162 games of this?”
In the young season, the Red Sox have had 10 or more hits in six of their seven games, and have a whopping 3-4 record to show for their offensive prowess. The hitters are certainly doing their job; is it too much to ask these pitchers to keep the ball in the park?
David Price pitched great in his first outing against Cleveland, going six innings and letting up only two earned runs. I’m willing to give him a pass on his second game with five earned runs in five innings, as it’s a long season and no ace pitcher is without a bad game or two throughout the year.
I have zero worries about Price, and the same goes for Craig Kimbrel after letting up a three-run bomb in a tie ball game; it wasn’t a save opportunity, so there was no need for Kimbrel to be in the game anyway. But even so, every amazing closer blows a save or lets up a ding-dong every once in awhile. It happens.
It’s the guys who look the exact same since last year who are really bothering me.
Remember when Clay Buchholz was on a roll and was up against Max Scherzer for the Cy Young? Remember when we didn’t wince when putting Clay Buchholz and Cy Young in the same sentence? That was before Clay woke up on the wrong side of the bed, keeping him out of the game for a few months.
Suddenly, Clay, who was a very on-and-off pitcher, became just an off pitcher. I’m talking about our number two starter, by the way. Our number-three throws a 100 MPH fastball but somehow had a 4.82 ERA last season.
Rick Porcello was signed to an extension after one start last year and went on to lose 15 games, and our only other quality start so far this year appears to have come from our number five starter, the knuckleballer Steven Wright.
Wright wasn’t even supposed to start but got the call because Eduardo Rodriguez is on the DL.
It’s a long season, I know, and there’s plenty of room for improvement, but how long do we wait for that improvement? The Boston Red Sox are currently 11th in the MLB in hits and seventh in batting average, however are 24th in ERA.
Hanley Ramirez picked up the slack from last year and currently boasts one of the highest batting averages on the team, on top of playing above-average first base despite the constant worries before the season.
David Ortiz is about to retire and is still hitting at an extremely high level. Young guys like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are becoming today’s stars of the team. It’d be nice to see the pitching staff do the same and shut the door on the heavy hitters across the league.
It’s early in the season, but the Red Sox have a glaring problem early on and have to solve it early to get the season going in the right direction. The offense is going to slump at times, and the pitching staff needs to be more consistent so when those slumps happen, games can still be won.
This is a team with huge potential. The offense is clicking, and the runs are coming in, the pitching staff just needs to turn it around. These starters need to get guys out, keep the ball in the park and stay on the mound longer to keep the bullpen from getting tired out.
It’s always a long season in the MLB. Let’s hope for an enjoyable long season, because so far, this is just plain hard to watch.
Tommy Goodale is a Staff Writer for The Comment.