While the headline is a blatant ripoff of Shakespeare’s Richard III, with just about ten days left until the start of the regular season, I’m still having a hard time getting a read on just how good the 2015 Boston Red Sox will be. It certainly looks like the offense is much improved – hell, it would be hard for it not to be. On the other hand, the starting pitching looks like it has the makings of a train wreck – the optimistic headlines of the Red Sox spin doctors aside.
As the spring winds down, Clay Buchholz took the mound Friday and gave up four runs and twelve hits in five innings of work. The headline on the Red Sox website? “Buchholz fans six over five innings.” The quite the optimistic viewpoint considering Boston’s “ace” had a WHIP of darn near three for his five innings of work. Granted, his previous three appearances (spanning a total of ten innings) had been pretty good. Of course, I’d like to see my pitchers getting better with each appearance. But that’s just me.
I know you’re not supposed to make a lot of pitcher stats in spring training, but when your potential five starters have worked a total of 60 innings, given up 73 hits, walked 20 (a 1.55 WHIP), and pitched to a 4.80 ERA, don’t you have a little reason to be concerned?
I wrote earlier that I believe the Red Sox need to make the trade for Cole Hamels. I stick by that. Hamels has had an ERA of 3.06 or lower in four of the last five years. The one year it was higher it was an “astronomical” 3.60.
Look, I like Buchholz and think he’s a decent second or third starter. I think Rick Porcello is very good and would be a great number two. Wade Miley is a number three or four in my book. He eats innings, which is a good thing, but he also allows more runners than the starting line at the Boston Marathon. Justin Masterson is not turning a lot of heads in camp, and Joe Kelly looks like he might be hurt again.
Sox management is singing the company line of “We Don’t Need No Stinking Ace.” I disagree. If you don’t have a pitcher you can look to every fifth day that has the ability to get your team out of a losing streak, you run the risk of having a very long season indeed. I get that you don’t want to trade Mookie Betts. Every day that goes by he’s making that look like an excellent strategy. However, there is more than one way to skin a cat. If it takes Blake Swihart (as much as I’d hate to lose him) and Henry Owens to get it done – get it done. I’m begging you.