The Red Sox have roughly a month before their regular season comes to an end. And unless something like their own 2011 collapse down the homestretch happens to their A.L. foes, the season is a month away from officially becoming a failure. As it stands, the Sox are 5.5 games back of the second Wild Card spot, and 15.5 back of the division-leading Yankees.
Boston has not played up to the championship-level potential we witnessed last season. And while it is certainly hard for champs to repeat in any sport, the Sox entered 2019 with essentially an identical roster to the one that won it all. Seriously. Colton Brewer was the only man dressed for Boston on April 10th that didn’t get handed a World Series ring.
It. Was. The. Same. Dang. Team.
Which means there is just zero excuse for them to be 15.5 games back of anybody at any point in the season, let alone a division rival. There is zero excuse for them to be 5.5 games back of a Wild Card spot. A spot that, at the very least, should have been theirs easily barring a close race with New York or Tampa Bay.
That’s the 10,000 foot view.
But it’s a long season. And at the micro level, night in and night out, it’s easy to lose track of the big picture. Boston’s third-ranked offense has more or less pulled their weight, but it’s the pitching that has let them down. And as the season went on, it was easy for many (myself included) to think that Boston was in need of some arms in order to muster up ANY kind of playoff push.
And then I read this article. NESN reported that the Sox have recently worked out veteran starter Jhoulys Chacin. Chacin was released by the Brewers last week. And on the surface, I agreed with the premise. When the pitching stinks, find more pitching. Got it.
But then I got to this paragraph:
“With Chris Sale out, the Red Sox are in desperate need of starting pitching depth, as they currently are leaning on Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Brian Johnson and Nathan Eovaldi, with David Price set to return Sunday.”
And I realized something. Swap out Johnson for Sale, and you have listed out the Red Sox projected lineup to start on Opening Day. Those pitchers they are apparently forced to “lean” on? THAT’S BASICALLY THE ROTATION THEY CRAFTED FROM THE START. They’re only missing one guy. And of the ones that remain, my eyes spot two former Cy Young-winners and a sizable free agent signing in Eovaldi. That should be PLENTY.
And take Sale out of the equation. Go with a rotation of Price, Porcello, Rodriguez, Eovaldi, and Johnson. On paper, that’s not half bad. I daresay most teams in the league would be okay with that.
So no, I am not going to buy in on the notion that Boston is somehow in “desperate need” of starting pitching depth. With Price on the mend, they will be only missing Sale. Yet suddenly the rotation is a sinking ship? I won’t have it. Management should quit it with the idea that the staff needs more arms, and let the guys they have dig themselves out of the hole. They certainly have the talent to do it.
It’s time we see what this squad is really made of down the stretch.
Don’t bring in Chacin or anyone else. No more band aids. Let’s ride or die with the arms we have. It’s a longshot Boston squeaks into the playoffs, so I don’t see much else they could lose.
If they truly have top-level talent, this is the time to prove it.
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