Friday, March 20, 2015

Red Sox Rotation Issues Will Hurt, But Not Until Playoffs

The Red Sox rotation is a cause for much concern, however the cracks won't really appear until when and if Boston makes the playoffs

Probable Sox rotation
The Boston Red Sox made things interesting this off-season by opening up their wallets and bringing in some serious heavy lumber in the form of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. The Sox look set to score runs aplenty in 2015. Pitching? Boston went for a very interesting group of free-agent hurlers to back up proposed ‘ace’ Clay Buchholz. Joining the Sox veteran will be Rick Porcello, Justin Masterson, Wade Miley, and Joe Kelly. That group is not without its talents however is not what you would call exciting.

They have also been underwhelming this spring.

Frankly however, Spring Training pitching stats are not worth the paper they are printed on. It’s hot, the pitcher are not conditioned as yet and perhaps most importantly, arms aren’t stretched out as yet. I don’t care if Wade Miley gives up 10 runs in an inning, or Joe Kelly gives up back-to-back-to-back dingers, Spring is the time to get arms stretched out more so than getting actual ‘outs’.

Spring, for pitching, is basically like starting a car. It won’t cruise straight away, you have to let it get on the road and get some miles under it before you are cruising.

The regular season itself isn’t that much of a concern for Red Sox pitching either. Even if this rotation crumbles, they will find guys to plug in and take up the required starters-innings. The Sox lineup looks so ferocious that pitching just isn’t going to be an issue, during the regular season. My guess is the Sox will win a lot of games 10-6 and 9-5. Scores like that. Further to that, the AL East looks like a very winnable division right now. It’s there for the taking. Every single team has issues, and compared to the rest, the Sox look relatively settled, again particularly when it comes to the big bats. The Sox are going to mash.

That’s the end of the ‘good’ news.

Getting to the playoffs is something the Sox shouldn’t find too much issue with (barring an unforeseen injury crisis). Doing anything positive at all, progressing in any shape or form during said playoffs would be a much, much tougher proposition with this proposed pitching rotation.

You are not going to make it through the minefield that is the MLB playoffs without at least one but preferably two stud starters. You have to have a guy who the opposition feel beaten by before the first pitch is even thrown. Look at the Sox rotations from their recent World Series wins. The ’04 rotation has a Hall of Fame starter in it, and the other guys weren’t too shabby either.


Good things happen when you gather good pitchers together


Josh Beckett was as-advertised in ’07 and Jon Lester was superb in ’13.  The recurring theme is, there’s always a couple of guys who are almost unhittable come October. Can you honestly see that from anyone in this current Sox rotation? God bless you if you can, ‘cause I can’t see Joe Kelly mowing down the best bats in all of baseball on a frigid October night in Fenway. I WANT to see it, but I can’t really see it.

This Red Sox team is built to win, look at the expensive acquisitions of Sandoval and Ramirez for starters. Winning is great, but winning is also pointless if you are not somewhat built to succeed when the playoffs start.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about this forthcoming ’15 season for Boston, it’s looking to be an enjoyable ride. I simply don’t see them winning the World Series unless Wade Miley discovers some kind of talent level he didn’t know about before, or unless Clay Bucholz unearths some Iron Man like physical stability to go with his undoubted talent. Both of those things could happen, of course, a far safer bet would be bringing in ‘that’ guy, that guy that rounds the whole rotation out, lets everyone pitch to their level comfortably and puts the fear of God in opponents before the game even starts.


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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

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