Chris Capuano has been phenomenal during his first two months in a Red Sox uniform. He’s compiled a stellar 1.95 ERA and 3.01 FIP from the bullpen, striking guys out at a high rate and surrendering just one long ball in 27 and 2/3 innings of work. The southpaw does walk his fair share of batters—posting a 3.58 BB/9 rate—but that’s been offset as he’s left 81.7% of runners on base this season.
The 35-year-old has been a predominate middle-of-the-rotation starter in his ten-year MLB tenure. Nevertheless, Capuano took the Red Sox’ offer this past offseason, cognizant that Boston had a deep rotation in place.
A more probable opportunity to get back to a starting role manifested when Ryan Dempster announced he was taking a year off from baseball. Still, the Red Sox’ rotation was inhabited by former All-Stars Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, and Jake Peavy. It was extremely unlikely he’d get the chance to become a starter in Boston, but that was not the reason the Massachusetts native became a Red Sox player.
Coming into 2014, Capuano had seen postseason action once. That lone appearance came last year with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Signing with the defending World Series Champions would ensure he’d get another taste of October baseball, right?
Well, it’s certainly early, but Boston’s 23-29 record entering last Thursday—placed them fourth in the American League East— eight games behind the first place Toronto Blue Jays. They’re not firing on any cylinders, and seem to lack some collective intangible that was prevalent last year.
In no way, shape, or form am I insinuating all hope is lost, because that’s not true. However, Boston has dug themselves in an early hole and need to strike gold with all the little decisions that often go unnoticed in the course of a 162-game season. The next decision they confront is who will replace Clay Buchholz and his 7.02 ERA in the rotation.
Numerous names have been thrown around such as Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa. To me, it’s clear who it should be; it’s the guy I’ve been talking about: Chris Capuano.
Capuano is the only left-handed pitcher of the three, giving him an advantage. Felix Doubront, who is a lefty, was replaced by right-handed pitcher Brandon Workman earlier in the week. While Workman did delight in his spot-start, it relinquished the preferred 3:2 right to left-handed pitcher ratio in the rotation.
Having the rotation setup as aforementioned, enables them to keep opposing teams off-balance. It’s common knowledge some teams have a lineup built to thrive more against one or the other so, teams prefer to have a blend of both to give opponents a variety.
Also, Capuano is the only one with major-league experience. Webster and De La Rosa have been abysmal in their short stints with the big-league team. As we’ve witnessed lately with Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts, the transition to the majors is not always a smooth one. Boston needs consistency now, and they’ll have the best chance of attaining that with Capuano.