The first month of the baseball season is complete. The Red Sox finished 12-14, and sit in fourth place behind the Rays, Yankees, and Blue Jays, respectively. They are 6.5 games behind the Rays. We are 4th in batting average in the AL, but 3rd to last in pitching, with an ERA of 4.90, with opponents batting .343 against us. This is DISGRACEFUL. Pitching wins games. With a rotation of aces, we should be able to dominate games. The Red Sox need to start winning games!
I’ve decided to analyze every pitcher on the roster. Enjoy!
Josh Beckett: 1-0, 6.31 ERA, 26 K, 1.57 WHIP. Not a good start to the season for Josh. He struggled Opening Night, but fortunately our offense picked us up. His only win was against the Royals. At this point in time, I think he is fine. His last start against the Orioles went well: he allowed 2 runs over 7 innings. Beckett’s accuracy is improving and the curveball is much better than it was his first two starts. Varitek is catching Beckett, which is something that you will see for most of this season. Not a good start for Beckett, but it is improving.
Jon Lester: 1-2, 4.71 ERA, 32 K, 1.43 WHIP. Despite struggling in his first couple of starts, Lester has bounced back and begun to pitch like the ace he truly is. He had his usual early-season struggles, but I think those are not a problem anymore. He has lowered the ERA from 8.44 to 4.71. He allowed one hit over 7 innings against the Blue Jays, striking out 11 and earning his first win. Lester is back to the pitcher we need him to be.
John Lackey: 2-1, 4.50 ERA, 17 K, 1.57 WHIP. After dominating opponents in Spring Training, Lackey hurled 6 innings of 3-hit ball against the New York Yankees in his Red Sox debut. Unfortunately, the offense did not pick him up, which was a shame. He suffered a no-decision in that game. The game after that, Lackey pitched 6.2 innings against the Twins, allowing only 2 runs and earning his first win of the season. Lackey’s third game against the Rays was the only game where he struggled. He took the loss in that game. His next two games were against Baltimore, where he pitched 7 innings in both outings, getting the win in his first and a no-decision in his second. Aside from that Rays game, Lackey has been our best pitcher (his ERA went from 1.43 at the start of the game to 5.63) and a workhorse for the Red Sox. Lackey doesn’t have a dominating pitch, but the guy can get outs. He was a great offseason signing. I always say the stats don’t lie, but if you believe John is a bad pitcher because he has a 4.50 ERA, you are out of your mind. John Lackey has been a great pitcher.
Clay Buchholz: 3-2, 2.97 ERA, 24 K, 1.42 WHIP. Clay has been a consistent pitcher this season. His best performance was against the Blue Jays where he threw 8 innings, allowing only one run. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s reliable or anchors our rotation, but he is certainly a bright spot in our rotation. He is showing now that he can pitch well in the majors, not just AAA. Keep up the good work, Buch!
Tim Wakefield: 0-1, 6.59 ERA…..I’ll leave it at that. Gotta love Wake, although he has definately struggled this season. He can still go 7 innings. It is really too bad to see Wake move to the BP. He is a great pitcher and has been the anchor of the Red Sox rotation for more than a decade. Wakefield is 4 strikeouts away from 2,000 for his career, and I would like very much for him to achieve that by the end of this season. Good luck, Wake!
Daisuke Matsuzaka (Dice-K): 0-1, 11.57 ERA, 4 K. Dice-K struggled in his season debut against the Orioles, allowing 6 ER 4.2 in 4.2 IP. I really hope this isn’t a sign of what his season will be like, but the way Dice-K has been I wouldn’t rule it out. Hope he bounces back in his next start.
Middle relief (people with the names other than Bard, Okajima, and Papelbon): Middle relief sucks again, but I’ve come to expect that. Middle relievers are the worst pitchers in the league. Because, if they were good, then they’d be in the 7th or 8th inning roles or even become a closer. None of our middle relievers are reliable.
Hideki Okajima: 2-1, 6.75 ERA, 4 H, 1 BS, 5 K, 2.13 WHIP: With the exception of the blown save and the loss, Oki is doing what is expected, and what he does every season: Being the best LH reliever in our BP and a solid figure in the “Bridge to Pap”. He has allowed a few too many runs in my opinion, but those didn’t matter (again, with the exception of the BS and the loss), we still won/lost. He is not impressing me, but he hasn’t disappointed me.
Daniel Bard: 0-1, 2.87 ERA, 5 H, 20 K, 0.89 WHIP. Like Okajima, he has a blown save and a loss. But aside from that, it has been a great start for our future closer. His 100 MPH fastball is unhittable, and he has a hell of a slider. I love his stuff, and he has been reliable for us this season. Come on, how many times have you said, “yes, here comes Bard!”? I’ll bet many times! Great start to the season for Bard.
Jonathan Papelbon: 1-2, 2.08 ERA, 9 K, 1.38 WHIP. BUT, Paps also has 9 walks. In the season where he appeared most often (67 appearences in 2008) he had 8 walks in a season. Honestly, I don’t know what to make of this. I HOPE it’s early season struggles, but my baseball instincts make me think there’s another problem. The only other reasonable reason I have for Pap’s struggles is he is distracted by the birth of his son. 2.08 ERA is a little high for Pap if you look at his career ERA (1.85). I am frustrated with Pap. I won’t lie. Pap is loud-mouthed and cocky, and so far hasn’t lived up to expectations. This infuriates me. Paps needs to dominate opponents for the rest of the season. I’m not kidding. I have zero tolerance for this, especially when you have the closer of the future waiting patiently and controlling himself. Paps does not know when to shut up. Over the past 3 seasons, we have seen more immaturity from him than any other prominent baseball player. Milton Bradley is the only possible baseball player that could come close to Pap in terms of immaturity. Step it up, Pap, the pressure is on you!
This concludes my evaluation of our pitching staff. I hope you enjoyed reading this. Please leave a comment about your thoughts on this, I would much appreciate it. Thanks!