As the old adage goes; baseball isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Well, the Seattle Mariners said screw that, and have come out of the gates running like their pants were on fire. The Red Sox, on the other hand, are taking that saying to heart.
With each teams first full series of the season officially under their belts, we got a good look at what they both had to offer, and my god do the Mariners look like a juggernaut, and holy shit do the Red Sox look ugly.
Yesterday, the Mariners completed their destruction of the defending World Series champs, winning by a final score of 10-8, and winning the opening series of the year by taking three games out of four.
It was legitimately stunning to watch. All four of the Sox starters gave up 6 runs or more in 5 innings or less, bringing the starters ERA to a whopping 13.20 through the teams first four games of the year. It seemed whatever pitch the starters threw was either getting hit hard or being hit out of the ballpark entirely.
Red Sox starters: 15 innings, 13.20 ERA; Red Sox bullpen: 18 innings, 2.50 ERA
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) March 31, 2019
If you exclude the Los Angeles Dodgers’ offensive molestation of the Arizona Diamondbacks that happened over the weekend, the Mariners have had the best offense in baseball so far this young season, thanks in large part to how much they feasted on the Sox starters. The Mariners, as a team, have already hit 15 home runs, scored 48 runs, are hitting .270, and have posted a slugging percentage over .550. All they do is hit, and they hit a shit ton.
So, what is wrong with the pitching? The bullpen for the Red Sox was tremendous once the starters were out of the game, and, minus the opening day blowout, the offense made every game close, due in part to the Mariners’ bullpens ineptitude. If ANY of the starting pitchers for the Red Sox give up less than 5 runs, the team likely wins three out of four and fans would be feeling a lot better right about now.
And yet, despite having 2 former Cy Young award winners and arguably the best pitcher in the American League in the rotation, the Red Sox were BOMBARDED by the Seattle Mariners hitters all weekend. Castoffs like Tim Beckham, Omar Narvaez, old ass Jay Bruce, old ass Edwin Encarnacion, Domingo Santana, and washed up Dee Gordon tormented the starters. In fact, Beckham, Bruce, Santana, and Narvaez all hit 2 home runs during the four-game series. It was unlike anything I have ever seen. Guys like Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, and Nathan Eovaldi, pitchers with undeniably spectacular “stuff” were getting shelled. Chris Sale got tagged for three home runs in his start, as did Nathan Eovaldi. Two of the most overpowering pitchers in the game were getting lit up as if they were a 28-year-old AAA call up facing the 1927 Yankees.
So what can we attribute this to? Were the starters just downright bad? Are the Mariners really THAT good of an offense? Should Tim Beckham and Jay Bruce be Co-AL MVP’s? It’s some sort of combination of all three. The Sox pitching gave the white-hot Mariners way too many good pitches to hit, and the Mariners, and Beckham and Bruce respectively, made them pay every time they got the chance.
Are the Red Sox dead yet? No, probably not. But, going to play Oakland in the Colosseum is no easy task. But the Red Sox will look to David Price to right the ship and hopefully get a bounce-back start from freshly paid Chris Sale.
There’s a lot of games left to be played, but two things are for certain: 1. The Mariners are nasty and 2. The Red Sox need to get their shit in order.
Photo by Ted S Warren/ AP Photos