Don’t blame the starters

This might not be the greatest Red Sox pitching staff of this century but it isn’t the worst either.

This isn’t stats driven, rather a belief that comes from the emotional roller coaster of watching this team play every day.

Rarely has there been an outing this season where the starter hasn’t given up a crooked number. On the nights where there are several crooked numbers the bullpen are out of the loop, when the damage is limited, the bullpen show their potential.CB

Buchholz, Miley, Kelly, Porcello and Masterson. Each have their strengths and weaknesses but they all have one thing in common. They’re constantly being told how bad they are as a rotation and guess what? It shows in how they perform.

Broadcasters, Print journalists and some fans can’t attack them quickly enough. A staff without a genuine ace, a staff who aren’t good enough to win the World Series.

What if we re-signed Lester? What if we signed Johnny Cueto? What if, what if, WHAT IF?

What if we all got behind the team and accepted them for what they are? 2015 is going to be a year of ups and downs, the sooner everybody accepts that the easier it will be on all of us!

When the problem lies within the psyche of the pitchers it is much tougher to work around. This is where I believe that Juan Nieves has some work to do. As the pitching coach it’s on him to get the confidence back to where it needs to be.

The solution? Nieves needs to sit down with John Farrell and seek his guidance on the issue. Farrell has a lot on his plate but I don’t believe he uses his history with the club enough in his current managerial role. Farrell knows how to get a Red Sox staff up and about and a little more input from him could make all the difference.

When you look at what the five starters are capable of at their best the Red Sox have a roster that should compete to win the A.L East. A lot of whether that happens in 2015 is going to come down to how they deal with the beating they are getting on and off the field.

Today is game 26. My maths tells me we have 136 games left in the season. If you’re ready to blow the season up and start again then you need to take a few deep breaths and remember that it’s a very long season and anything is possible.

 

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Should the bullpen be a concern for the 2014 Red Sox?

Spring ball can be deceiving. That’s never more obvious than at Fenway South, where if you see David Ortiz bat over .100 something is drastically wrong.

Today I’m going to focus on the happenings on the other side of the ball. When I look at the list of guys who threw, but didn’t start a game this spring, it takes a while to filter through them all and get an idea of who to talk about when it comes to specifics.FenwayPark

The two relievers from Spring I’m going to do a brief focus on today are Jose Mijares and Rubby De La Rosa.

De La Rosa has also been a player who made me feel uneasy when he was called into a game. His 4-7 lifetime record with an ERA of 4.21 and 69 hits given up from just under 73 innings of work give me the feeling that I might be right. At 7.36 his ERA this Spring could be mistaken for the price of a Taco Bell value meal. He gave up more hits than he pitched innings, struck out 1.25 guys a game and somehow manage to have a .382 BA against him in the process. How do these numbers support getting a look in at Big League camp, let alone the steady flow of action he’s gotten at Fenway?

Mijares fared better than De La Rosa, but was by no means great. Sure, he had a 5.14 ERA from six appearances, but he doesn’t have any of the other horrendous numbers  we saw with De La Rosa. Four runs on eight hits doesn’t look good, but unless you saw him pitch in every game he played this Spring (which I certainly didn’t), then you aren’t going to get the full story. The 1.58 WHIP came in at 0.2 higher than the MLB average. I think that had he not opted out of his contract, then he may have been able to find a spot at Fenway at some point in 2014.

One of the ways that the Red Sox like to break hearts is to give up runs at the worst possible time (Brandon Workman, anyone?), but I think the cause for concern runs (no pun intended) much deeper.

When you look at the 2013 season, it’s easy to see that we got the World Series title we weren’t expecting, and that should be enough for us to consider the season a success.

We were lucky, and I don’t think there are many Red Sox fans who don’t know that. If Myers makes a regulation catch, if Detroit played a bit smarter and if Ortiz didn’t have the hottest run I’ve ever seen in the Fall, then we may have been waiting for the Home Opener against the Brewers, wondering what might have been, rather than watching probably the most emotional Ring Ceremony of the last decade.

The Red Sox pen had the 21st best ERA in the Majors last year (3.70), which put them at 10th in the AL. As if this was a stat that wasn’t concerning enough, the OBP of opponents of the Red Sox pen was a staggering .320, a number high enough that only nine clubs registered a higher opponent OBP.

24 Blown Saves is a number that should leave all fans wondering where we go from here. Why? Because it’s stats like this that cost us the Division, which isn’t exactly a pretty thought given we play in the toughest division in the game.

On the flipside there were only nine IBB issued by the Red Sox relievers throughout the season, and the faith that any of them can throw at anybody on any given day is certain an asset we are lucky to have.

Do you think the Red Sox should be concerned about the bullpen in 2014?