After one turn through the rotation, the Red Sox starting pitchers look to be the best in the league. In 30 innings pitched, they’ve given up just 3 runs on 22 hits and 7 walks combined. They have a cumulative WHIP of .966 and are averaging 8.4 K/9.
It started with Chris Sale mowing down the Rays on Opening Day to the tune of 6 IP, 1 hit and 9 K’s. He used every pitch in his arsenal in every situation, throwing multiple first pitch changeups and sliders and racking up K’s with all 3 pitches.
David Price went in game 2 and threw a gem of his own. He also went scoreless, this time over 7 innings, allowing 4 hits with 5 K’s. His injury prone elbow looked fully healthy, as he was spotting his fastball and cutter exceptionally well and building in velocity as the game went on. He seemed full of confidence in his first start since the middle of last year.
(Photo credit: Portland Press Herald)
Rick Porcello, the much maligned former Cy Young winner, continued the staff’s success with 5.1 solid innings, and hushed any doubters (at least for now) of his abilities.
Hector Velazquez pitched game 4 in place of the injured Drew Pomeranz and carried himself like a seasoned pro. He gave up just 1 run and 5 hits while striking out 5, continuing the success from his short stint in the bigs last year.
Finally, Brian Johnson, my personal favorite story of the year so far, showed the world that his fantastic Spring Training was no fluke in the first game vs. the Marlins last night. He threw 6 innings and allowed jut a single run from 5 hits. He racked up 5 K’s and looked perfectly comfortable on the mound in just his 6th career Major League start.
Now, 5 games is obviously a very small sample size. Most of what we’ve seen up to this point needs to be taken with a grain of salt and some rationality, but there are a few things we can gather from it.
First, Chris Sale is going to be Chris Sale. He’s going to dominate often and contend for the Cy Young.
Secondly, David Price, when healthy, is a #1 pitcher on almost any other team in the MLB. The key is keeping his pitch count down early on and allowing him to stretch out that arm, which is what Alex Cora seems to be keen on.
Lastly, Rick Porcello is not a Cy Young-caliber pitcher. Although he pitched very well in his first start, he got himself into some sticky situations, which, to be honest, is common practice from him. Cora will have some decisions to make with him. He’s always been a very durable guy capable of throwing upwards of 200 innings in a season (something that can be a tremendous help to a bullpen), but he tends to become less and less effective once he hits around 70 pitches. I wonder how long Cora will let his leash get.
Time will tell.