Steven Wright Needs A Permanent Rotation Spot

The Boston Red Sox are in a tight battle with the New York Yankees for superiority in the AL East, and that won’t change anytime soon. It’s time to stop letting Drew Pomeranz take the mound and give Steven Wright, one of the league’s only knuckleballers, a permanent spot in the starting rotation.

Steven Wright joined the Red Sox at the trade deadline in 2013. After acquiring the Steven Wrightknuckleballer from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Lars Anderson, the Sox only used Wright in ten contests over his first two seasons with the club. Wright found a niche in 2015 as a reliever, going 5-4 with a 4.09 ERA in 16 appearances. After a last-place finish in the AL East that year, the Red Sox entered 2016 with a revamped starting rotation. Wright was a part of this makeover, and he capitalized on his first season as a full-time starter. In 24 starts, he went 13-6 with a 3.33 ERA, 127 strikeouts, and four complete games. Wright’s breakout 2016 season also landed him a spot on the American League All-Star Team.

After consecutive last-place finishes, the Red Sox went 93-69 in 2016 and looked to have mended their rotation with the signing of David Price, the CY Young season of Rick Porcello, and the rise of Boston’s newest knuckleballer. Wright’s reign was short-lived, however. The following May, he underwent surgery to restore cartilage in his left knee and missed the remainder of 2017.

His problems followed him into the 2018 season. In March, the league suspended Wright for 15 games for violating the MLB’s personal conduct policy. Having completed his suspension on May 14,  Wright returned to his ballclub, but without a starting job. The culprit? Drew Pomeranz, who became a starter in Wright’s absence in 2017.

I will give credit where credit is due. In 2017, Drew Pomeranz looked every bit deserving of a spot in the Red Sox rotation. He went 17-6 with a 3.32 ERA and 174 punchouts and was a key cog in helping the Sox replicate their 2016 record of 93-69. And to begin this season, there was no justifiable reason to demote Pomeranz. He pitched as well as Wright did in his All-Star season, if not better.

Steven Wright Got His Groove Back

But now, over 60 games into the year, Steven Wright needs his spot back. Drew Pomeranz has allowed at least two earned runs in every single one of his starts this season. In eight starts, he is 1-3 with a staggering 6.81 ERA. And most recently, the team placed Pomeranz on the 10-day disabled list with tendinitis in his left bicep. Steven Wright made his first start of 2018 on June 5th against the Detroit Tigers. Throwing seven shutout innings with six strikeouts and just two hits, he reminded everyone what they’d been missing out on. On June 11th, Wright followed it up with another scoreless start against the Baltimore Orioles, surrendering just four hits in six innings of work. The knuckleballer has not allowed a run in 22 consecutive innings, and his ERA is down to 1.21 on the season.

The numbers alone are compelling enough. The knuckleball is a rare commodity in today’s MLB, and Wright’s superior numbers and novelty pitch make him all the more worthy of a starting job for this team.

Drew Pomeranz Should Not Be Starting

It is getting painful to watch Drew Pomeranz pitch every fifth day. Playing the Astros this weekend, it is easy to see the major difference for Houston between this year and last. It’s the Astros dominant rotation. With the addition of Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander now in the fold for the entire season, both of whom seem like early contenders for the Cy-Young award, there isn’t a weak link in their starting 5. For the Red Sox, it is clearly Pomeranz.

Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello all posses Cy-Young award caliber potential.Drew Pomeranz When those three are pitching at their peaks, it is hard to find a better trio in the league. Meanwhile, Eduardo Rodriguez seems to be staying healthy, continuously turning in quality starts and now has a 6-1 record. Pomeranz has not had that same reliability.

Last season, Drew Pomeranz looked like the all-star type of pitcher Dave Dombrowski thought he had acquired a year prior when he obtained the lefty from the San Diego Padres in exchange for the promising pitching prospect, Anderson Espinosa. Drew won 17 games for the Red Sox in 2017, as he was the consistent staple in the Boston rotation, along with Cy-Young runner-up Chris Sale. Pomeranz earned the nickname “Big Smooth” as he seemed confident and easy going in pressure situations. His ’12 to 6′ curveball baffled hitters, especially Yankees, as he amassed 174 strikeouts for the year. Ex Boston manager John Farrell, saw enough poise and success from the south-paw he decided to name him the “number 2” starter for the playoffs. Since that postseason start, he has fallen off tremendously.

Drew Pomeranz  is Replaceable

This offseason, the oft-injured Drew Pomeranz again didn’t make his season debut until late April. When he returned, his fastball was noticeably down in velocity. After averaging close to 92 on the radar gun with the pitch last season, it has since dipped to the 88 mph mark. His curveball didn’t have the same prototype bite to it. That late movement to the breaking ball we as fans were accustomed to seeing. Now after eight games started, it is easy to see last season may be an anomaly. Wright should be in the bullpen.

The knuckleballer Wright has been fantastic this season. He has only allowed four runs in 16.0 innings pitched from the pen. The knuckleball seems to regularly find the strike-zone. Alex Cora has leaned on him as the “innings eater” all year. Before Wright went down with an injury in 2016, he earned an all-star nod and was on his way to a dominant season. Wright often has had to pitch in long-relief this year. He routinely comes in as early as the third or fourth innings to replace the struggling Pomeranz. If Wright joins the rotation, then he wouldn’t be in mop-up duty, fewer runs would be given up early and Boston would have a better chance to win.

Can The Red Sox Reach The Post Season?

The Red Sox captured first place this summer and have hardly let go since. While the Yankees nip at their heels, Chris Sale’s arm and the rookies’ bats keep the Bronx Bombers at bay.  On top of that, the Red Sox are creeping closer to finding a groove in a post-Ortiz world. But despite their recent stretch of wins, can the Red Sox reach the post season?

Their Pitching Is (Almost) There

The Red Sox are definitely getting their money out of Chris Sale. He’s leading the AL inRed Sox reach wins, ERA, and strikeouts. He also pitches a fast game, which counts for a lot in an era where games last 3+ hours. Eduardo Rodriguez is almost healthy enough to begin carrying wins of his own. While he’s still young, his ability to accumulate seven or eight strikeouts a game is often overlooked. Drew Pomeranz came out of nowhere this year after a terrible debut season and already has double-digit wins. Joe Kelly can throw 100 MPH and serves as a good middle reliever. Craig Kimbrel always saves the game. David Price and Rick Porcello though? One’s a hot-head and the other is trying to stave off joining the 20-losses in a season club.

Their Rookies and Newcomers Will Help The Red Sox Reach The Post Season

Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers quickly dispelled any concerns they weren’t ready for the big leagues when they came up. Benintendi is a solid offensive as well as defensive guy. Devers is hitting home runs left and right. Eduardo Nunez seems to love playing in Boston. Even the veteran journeyman Chris Young can still make opposing pitchers shake in fear. Dustin Pedroia isn’t 100% (and may never be again) and Hanley Ramirez can’t quite lift his batting avert above .275. Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. still command the outfield as well as they can hit home runs. So will all this be enough to reach the post-season?

Yes.

Red Sox’ Winning Streak Has Fans Excited Again

The hometown heroes have won their last five games (as of May 27th). They have scored a whopping 41 Red Sox' Winning Streakruns in those games while opposing teams have mustered just 15. The Red Sox’ record as of May 27th sits at 26-21, which is the highest amount of games over .500 it has been all year. The recent outburst has been an all-around team effort, from the hitting to the fielding and everything in between. The Red Sox’ winning streak has been a proponent of very good pitching, especially starting pitching.

The Red Sox’ Winning Streak Has Been Led By Pitching

Eduardo Rodriguez has pitched two great games during this 5-game streak. He gave up 3 earned runs over 8 innings in Oakland last Sunday, and beat the Mariners on Friday giving up no runs in 6 innings, (4-1, 2.77 ERA). The Sox were coming off a game that they pitched rather well in too, when they tied the MLB record for strikeouts in a game with a combined 20. Drew Pomeranz pitched a gutty game, striking out 11 en route to the win. Craig Kimbrell struck out 4 in the ninth due to a dropped-third strike, while a combination of Hembree, Barnes, and Scott collected 5 punch-outs. Though Chris Sale was unable to break his own record (in which he shares with Pedro) for the most consecutive starts with 10+ strikeouts, the Sox still won. Sale’s three earned runs over 7.1 got the job done.

What Hitting Has Meant To the Red Sox’ Winning Streak

The Red Sox are finding ways to win. They have proved in the last few years that they can beat any team. They did exactly that against a hot Texas Rangers team. The starting pitching held the Rangers’ bats in check while guys like Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts collected RBI. Xander left the yard for the first time this season, and is hitting a whopping .335 on the season. This is just the start we needed out of him, and his power stroke may have finally returned. Look for this team to stay hot if they can stay healthy, as the return of David Price will hopefully galvanize the club, as well.

It’s Time The Red Sox Break Up With John Farrell

We’ve all seen that couple that stays together much longer than they should. They fight in front of others. They always look tired. They’re miserable even when they’re supposed to be having fun. Being in a dying relationship is like carrying cinder blocks in your hands all day long. It gets to a point where you just can’t take the weight and pain and wonder whyRed Sox Break you ever bothered. You’re drained, your friends are tired of hearing you complain, and pretty soon you feel alone and empty. So that’s why it’s time the Red Sox break up with John Farrell and fire him.

It’s clear it’s not working out anymore. Farrell and Drew Pomeranz argued with each other in the dugout when Farrell pulled him after four innings on May 20th. This also happened in 2015 when Farrell and Wade Miley got into it in the dugout. Disagreements are a part of baseball, but they’re best discussed behind closed doors—not in open dugouts. We’ve all seen our friends in a relationship fight with their SO at one point or another. It’s awkward for those standing nearby trying to pretend they don’t notice. They’re all thinking the same thing though: How much longer do we have to put up with this?

On a larger level, it makes the couple look like they can’t control their emotions. So when we see Farrell pointing a finger at Pomeanz I want to know why he can’t control himself. Why doesn’t he do what I used to do with my ex and say, “We’ll discuss this later”? It doesn’t always work (hence why I’m single), but it’s not something that Farrell can continue doing either. Open fighting like that is a sign of a bad relationship. It’ll only hurt him in the long run. too, when the Red Sox break up with him because no other teams will want to hire him. Who wants that kind of drama in their clubhouse?

The Red Sox look bored and passive nowadays. The Red Sox won the division last season, but it was a tough win for them. Ortiz’s final year was one of the few things that kept the season joyful and positive. But since Farrell’s wingman retired, the awkwardness between Farrell and the Red Sox has increased. Watching the team interact with Farrell is now like watching a high school girl ignore a guy who doesn’t get that she’s just not into him.

The Red Sox Break Up With Farrell Should Happen Sooner Than Later

Dumping someone is difficult. It’s more difficult if you’re on the receiving end. One minute you think things are okay, and the next you’re a refugee in Dumpsville. But it’s not like Dave Dombrowski can just text Farrell saying, “sry not feeling us nemore, hope we can still b friends.”

The Red Sox have to be up front and honest with Farrell. Take a page from the film Moneyball when Billy Beane taught his apprentice how to fire someone. Sit Farrell down, look him in the eye, and say “John, we’re letting you go. Thanks for your service and we wish you the best of luck.” It’s cold and direct, but it brings closure to an already difficult situation. But unlike in a real relationship, the Red Sox would have to replace Farrell right away. They don’t have time to play the field (pun intended).

A Red Sox break up with Farrell would not only bring a breath of fresh air to the clubhouse, but it would give the team a chance to try new strategies.

The Drew Pomeranz Deal Was A Mistake

Let’s just get down to it; the Drew Pomeranz deal has been a disaster so far. Since Pomeranz joined the club, his stats have done the talking. He has a 6-8 record with an Drew Pomeranz DealERA of 4.82 in 21 games pitched. In those 21 games (20 starts), he has given up 21 home runs and has walked 38 hitters. Pomeranz has been dealing with injuries ever since he showed up in Boston. In his last start he was pulled in the third inning with left-forearm tightness.

The Drew Pomeranz Deal Was Risky To Begin With

Whether Pomeranz is involved in a World Series run or not, the Sox still traded away a valuable prospect for him. Anderson Espinoza was ranked as a top 25 prospect by Baseball America, MLB, and Baseball Prospectus prior to the 2017 season. He’s a guy whose fastball is already 94-97 mph. The Sox were desperate for starting pitching last year, which ultimately was the deciding factor in the deal. When news broke that San Diego GM AJ Preller disclosed information on Pomeranz’s health concerns, Boston was given opportunity to rescind the trade. They declined the offer, which may have been the worst decision so far. Dealing a valuable prospect in Espinoza was already risky. Doing it for an injured Pomeranz who still has not proved himself in the big leagues yet? That’s a real risk.

The Drew Pomeranz Deal Still Has Time to Correct Itself

Drew Pomeranz is under contract for this season, and will be arbitration-eligible next year. In 2019, he will be a free-agent. If a trade were to be made, the Sox would still have an opportunity to benefit from making the Pomeranz deal in the first place. To this point, he has been one of the least reliable pitchers in the organization. Maybe he has been bothered by injury ever since he was traded here, but regardless, we need production. The Red Sox starting pitching has taken on too may injuries to allow Pomeranz to be this bad. Trying to pitch in Boston is tough for any pitcher, and it doesn’t always work out. This could just be one of those cases.