Justin Masterson goes 5 innings, Wade Milley goes 4 innings, Joe Kelly goes 5 innings. That has been a common theme for those Red Sox starters after the first month of the season. Masterson’s velocity is down and not getting ground balls the team thought he would be getting. Milley’s adjustment to the American League seems to be a big one, although in his last two starts he has kept the team in the game. Kelly continues to miss bats, but also can’t find the plate at times as shown this weekend in Toronto with seven walks on Saturday.
Is it time to start thinking about a change to the rotation? John Farrell seems to think not just yet, but how much more can he tolerate? Juan Nieves lost his job because of these starters inability to get out of jams and to find the plate. Maybe a new pitching coach will do the job at first, but they are who they are; obviously vastly under performing, but there is no ace on this staff.
Trading for Cole Hamels will not solve the pitching rotation problem as he is just one pitcher, and all five have had their troubles in the first month of the season. The minor leagues are stocked with almost ready arms, most notably Eduardo Rodriguez, but is it too early to bring him up?
In five starts with the PawSox this season, Rodriguez, just 22, is 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA. In his most recent start this past weekend in Columbus he allowed 4 run in 5 innings of work walking 2 while striking out 7. Rodriguez had given up just 5 runs total in his previous four starts. Rodriguez only has 6 starts above AA making one for the PawSox last post-season. The Red Sox insisted the Orioles give up Rodriguez in the Andrew Miller trade last July, and so far it has worked out as Rodriguez was having a down year in the minors before coming to the Red Sox.
Only 6 starts above AA doesn’t sound like a pitcher who is ready to face the Yankees in Yankee Stadium or a powerful Blue Jays lineup but, he has shown the Red Sox something early on this season, being able to miss bats and keep runners off base. Would he be better than the bottom of the rotation starters the Sox have now? Maybe. Only time will tell if the patience of John Farrell runs thin and the team turns to more young players who are a part of the future and forced into the present.