To start the 2017 season, the Boston Red Sox were projected to have the best pitching staff in baseball. Comparable to the 2011 Phillies with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. Boston’s rotation seemed to be dominant on paper.
Chris Sale has consistently been one of the top pitchers in baseball since debuting with the White Sox. David Price is a Cy Young award winner who has consistently been in the conversation. Rick Porcello was the American League Cy Young winner last year. Drew Pomeranz pitched in the all star game just last year, and had the best ERA in the National League before being traded to Boston. Eduardo Rodriguez was a highly ranked prospect who projects as a very solid starter in the league. Steven Wright was an All-Star last year before injuring his shoulder running the bases.
On paper, this pitching staff seems to be unstoppable. In fact, Boston was so confident in their staff, they traded away former ace pitcher (take the word ace how you will) Clay Buchholz. However, through the first two months of the season it has disappointed. Chris Sale has been great, and leads the league in strikeouts, but that is just about all of the good news in this rotation. Other than Sale, this rotation has had to deal with a plethora of injuries and bad starts.
David Price has recently returned to the rotation after beginning the season on the DL and has not impressed. He has had only start where he looked like his old self. His other three have disappointing. Not only has Price not pitched well, he has also got into heated exchanges with the media causing tension between Price and the press. Price has been under fire for his comments earlier in the week claiming he is done speaking to the media.
Other injuries have also plagued the Red Sox. After his fantastic 2015 campaign, Steven Wright said his shoulder was back to 100% and ready to start the season. After getting shelled during his first few starts of the season, it was announced Wright would miss the rest of the season with a knee issue. The knee issues continued for Boston after Eduardo Rodriguez, who was off to a great start, tripped in the bullpen. John Farrell let him start the game, and shortly after was placed on the DL with knee soreness.
The Rodriguez injury came shortly after Drew Pomeranz had pitched his two best starts of the season. Reporters on MLB Network raved about how Pomeranz finally was getting into last years all-star form. It seems once some good news finally pops up for this pitching staff, there is bad news that quickly follows.
Last years Cy Young Award winner is also off to an ice cold start. Rick Porcello went 22-4 last year with a 3.15 ERA. This year, he has already doubled his loss total going 3-8 with a 4.67 ERA. Getting back closer to his career numbers, it seemed last year was more of a fluke than this one. Only two seasons ago, Sox fans were referring to him as Porcell-Blow, and it seems that nickname might be coming back. Rick has been horrible this year and has left many wondering if he will return to last years form.
For Boston, there is still so many questions about this pitching staff. Injuries aside, the Red Sox face other issues. Will Porcello return to Cy Young form? Can Pomeranz be an affective starter in the post-season? Can David Price break out of his grudge with the media and pitch well? Will Chris Sale be able to pitch in the post-season for the first time in his career? Will Rodriguez stay healthy throughout the year? All of these questions will be answered sooner or later in this season.