Despite sitting on top of the AL East standings, the Boston Red Sox have a lot of work to do until they are truly contenders. After going on a nine game win streak, the Red Sox are now 4-6 in their last ten games, and a shocking 7-8 at home. During this home skid, some of the Red Sox biggest weaknesses have been exposed. Starting with the starting pitching.
Stop me if you have heard this one before, The Red Sox starting pitching is one of the biggest holes on their roster. I mean, this team used 15 starting pitchers in a 60 game season last year, so this really shouldn’t come as all that much of a surprise. The lack of solid arms for the Red Sox is starting to show. Tanner Houck, who made his MLB debut last September, and has been splitting time in Worcester, is arguably the third best pitcher in the clubhouse right now, behind Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriquez.
The starters for the Red Sox have struggled to give long outings, forcing manager Alex Cora to get creative with a weak bullpen. Having to manage a bullpen with guys like Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Austin Brice, and a struggling Adam Ottavino is not ideal. The pitching struggles have led to the Red Sox offense having to pick the slack, and in many cases this season, spark come from behind wins. The Red Sox pitching staff will have to step it up or this team will not be on top of the AL East much longer.
Another aspect that has hindered the Red Sox is the lack of production from the guys acquired in the off-season. Let’s take a look at what they have done so far this season.
Garrett Richards- I had a problem with the Garrett Richards signing from the beginning. Richards is now 32 and has suffered numerous injuries throughout his career. He was also just 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA last season with the Padres coming off a Tommy John surgery in July of 2019, which to me is not deserving of a $10M contract. Richards, like his attitude, has been terrible this season. He is 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA, and he has walked 13 batters in just 16.2 innings pitched. My biggest issue with Richards has been his body language when on the mound. Also, with his contract being rather big for a one year deal, it seems the Red Sox feel they have to pitch him, but in reality he is just wasting a spot for a guy like Tanner Houck. I hope the best for a guy like Richards with all he’s gone through injury wise in his career, but Red Sox fans have already had to deal with dragging someone along on the 40-man roster because of their past achievements in Dustin Pedroia.
Franchy Cordero- Francy Cordero has looked lost in the field and at the plate so far this season. He has not looked like the player Royals GM Dayton Moore hyped him up to be. In 16 games this season, Franchy is hitting .200 with 23 strikeouts. Cordero hasn’t been much better in the field either. It seems Cordero hasn’t quite figured out how to play the wall yet and has been playing very shallow in left allowing balls to get behind him.
Adam Ottavino- Ottavino was probably the most exciting off-season acquisition for the Red Sox. Maybe because he came from the Yankees and you never see the Red Sox and Yankees making trades, but more importantly because he would provide some desperately needed bullpen help, so we thought. In 7.1 innings pitched this season, Ottavino has allowed 7 hits, 5 runs, has walked 6, and has posted an ERA of 4.91. In a bullpen that could desperately need help, Ottavino is yet to show Red Sox fans he can be that guy.
Finally, the Red Sox have to play better at home if they want to make it back to the playoffs. The Red Sox are just 7-8 at home this season, while they are 6-1 on the road. Home struggles are never a good thing, especially if you want a winning team.