The Red Sox have lost 5 out of the last 6 games and went 4-5 in their last big homestand of the season. Now, they are about to go on a daunting 11-game West Coast road trip. Is this a safe time to say that we should be a little concerned still with our pitching? I think so. Should Dave Dombrowski retract his statement that the team isn’t looking to add another significant piece? Probably.
Two weeks ago, the Red Sox’s president of baseball operations completed four trades over the course of eight days. Within that week and one day the Red Sox acquired Aaron Hill, Michael Martinez, Brad Ziegler, and Drew Pomeranz. However, from what we have seen from our pitching over the last week, I don’t think Dombrowski should stop there. If we leave this team as is, making the playoffs will be left up to luck.
Steven Wright has arguably been one of the most reliable Red Sox starters, right behind Rick Porcello. However, in Tuesday night’s game, Wright gave up eight earned runs, on nine hits, in 4.2 innings, bringing his ERA up to 3.12 from a league leading 2.67. This isn’t the first sign of him struggling. Earlier this month, in two consecutive starts, he didn’t make it past 6 innings and gave up 4 or more earned in both games. Not saying that a regression is coming, but giving up 21 earned runs in 29.2 innings is a sign that Steven Wright is only human, and that he can’t be only one of two reliable pitchers the Red Sox put all their weight on.
Another part of the rotation that isn’t necessarily a concern, but can be a basis for the need to add another arm is the potential fatigue of Drew Pomeranz. Coming from San Diego, on July 14th, Pomeranz had already logged a career-high in innings at 102 IP. He is now at 111, and Farrell has mentioned that the Red Sox will try and limit him to 100 pitches or 6 innings per start. The innings total for the 27-year-old definitely deserves some attention, which the team has noticed by suddenly giving the left-handed pitcher a pitch count. That means the Red Sox will be looking towards the bullpen often when Pomeranz is on the mound.
Now, add in David Price’s inconsistencies over the season and the shaky Eduardo Rodriguez, and that’s where the unease kicks in. If Wright, Pomeranz, or even Porcello, shows a struggle, can the Red Sox really bank that Price and E-Rod will step up? I am a believer in both of them, but to rely on them, in case one of our reliable pitchers stop performing, is pretty bold at this point in the season. And I am all for easing the workload of the bullpen.
I mean, when the Red Sox’s offense isn’t there to bail out their pitching, the team is downright atrocious. When they score less than five runs, the team is 8-31, compared to 47-13 when they score more than five. Then, also not to go unmentioned is that the team has lost three times when they scored 9 runs, twice when they scored 8, and three times when they scored 7. The team has not only shown signs of struggling in close games but, also when the offense provides more than what should be a sufficient amount of run support.
I am not saying that the Red Sox need to go out and get Chris Sale and give up five of our top prospects. But, I am saying there needs to be another reliable arm added if the Red Sox want to feel safe with their rotation…Oh yeah, throw in the need for a bullpen arm somewhere in my rant.
Possible Advice: If nothing is done before the trade deadline, it might be a good time to stock up on “apple juice.”