The Boston Red Sox have won the AL East for the first time since 2013, and will be returning to the playoffs. Their success is due to their offensive production. Their lineup features MVP candidate Mookie Betts, stellar shortstop Xander Bogaerts, outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., and veterans Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, and David Ortiz.
Ortiz has been instrumental to their success. He is retiring at seasons end, but he has produced at a superstar level, and is having one of the best seasons of his career. However, his level of play, and the Red Sox offensive production, won’t be enough to get them to the World Series. The Red Sox have the best lineup in all of baseball, but their inconsistent pitching will keep them out of the World Series.
Inconsistent Pitching Will Keep Red Sox out of World Series
The Inconsistency of David Price
In the offseason, the Red Sox signed Price to a humongous 7-year, $217 million deal. Price is considered a top-ten pitcher in MLB, but he hasn’t pitched that way this year. While not terrible, Price hasn’t been anywhere near elite this year, with an ERA just under four. However, that’s not Price’s red flag.
The dilemma with him is that he’s one of the worst postseason pitchers in all of baseball. With the exception of his efforts out of the bullpen in 2008 with the Tampa Bay Rays, and a solid start in 2014 with the Detroit Tigers, Price has been an inconsistent postseason pitcher. In both 2010 and 2011, he’s posted ERAs over four, and an absurd 9.00 ERA in 2013. Also, he posted a lackluster 6.17 ERA last season with the Toronto Blue Jays. Throughout the majority of his career, David Price has been unreliable in the postseason, and there is little reason to believe that his fortunes will change. In addition to Price, the Red Sox have to be worried about the inexperience of their young arms.
The Postseason Inexperience
While he has been roughed up in the postseason, the good thing about Price is that he has actual postseason experience. After Price, the Red Sox have little postseason exposure in their rotation. Knuckleballer Steven Wright and southpaw Drew Pomeranz have a combined zero playoff appearances. Despite the fact they haven’t been in the league all too long, there are red flags with both Wright and Pomeranz. While he has been consistent this year, Wright can be very hittable. When teams figure out his knuckleball, he gets exposed. If teams with big bats, such as the Texas Rangers or the Blue Jays, figure out his knuckleball, the Red Sox could be in trouble.
On the other hand, with Pomeramz, the Red Sox have a pitcher who has also never pitched in the playoffs, but more importantly has been very shaky. Ever since the Red Sox acquired him from the San Diego Padres at the trade deadline, Pomeranz hasn’t pitched the same. After posting an ERA under three with the Padres and appearing in the All-Star Game, Pomeramz has posted a 4.59 ERA with the Red Sox. His inconsistent pitching is something that the Red Sox should monitor very closely. If he gets hit early, they may need to turn to veteran Clay Buchholz in relief. Despite the inexperience of their young arms, they can rely on starter Rick Porcello.
Rick Porcello Can be Trusted
With a rotation full of question marks, one of those question marks isn’t Rick Porcello. Porcello has been the face of consistency this year. He has posted a 3.15 ERA, and while the statistic can be overlooked, he led all of baseball in wins with 22. He’s been the MVP of their staff, and if it wasn’t for his consistent production, the Red Sox may not be in the position they are in.
While the case can be made that he hasn’t been the greatest postseason pitcher, he hasn’t been in the postseason in three years. His numbers weren’t horrific either, they just weren’t great. Porcello is a very different pitcher than he was three years ago with the Tigers. He can be relied on to take the mound in the postseason. Porcello will start game one for the Red Sox in the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians.
Despite Stellar Lineup, Boston Won’t be in Fall Classic
The Red Sox have the best lineup in all of baseball. With vets Ortiz, Ramirez, and Pedroia, along with young stars like Betts, Bradley Jr., and Bogaerts, their lineup is lethal. However, it won’t be enough to get them to the fall classic. Their starting rotation has too many holes. With David Price, they have an extremely shaky postseason pitcher; with Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz, they have two inexperienced young arms; despite having a CY Young candidate in Rick Porcello, the combination of Price, Wright, and Pomeranz raises too many eyebrows. Despite their offense firepower, the Boston Red Sox won’t make it to the World Series because of their inconsistent pitching.