Red Sox’s Number Five Starter Could Be An Issue

With all of the questions surrounding the rotation this year, Red Sox starters have been largely successful. They were, however, dealt a blow when Steven Wright went down for the season last week. Even though Wright’s season was pitiful, he may have been the best option for the Red Sox’s number five starter.

The number five starter role could be a revolving door until David Price returns to the bigRed Sox's number five starter club, that is, if he does this season. Right now, the man filling that void is Kyle Kendrick. That, you might say, isn’t going well. In his two starts, he’s been lit up like a Christmas Tree to the tune of a 12.96 ERA. The gift awaiting him under the tree he lit was a one-way ticket back to Pawtucket Wednesday night.

So now, John Farrell will have to continue to search for the man to round out his starting rotation. Let’s just say his options are thin at that position.

Who is the favorite for the Red Sox’s number five starter?

The only other guy with a decent amount of MLB experience is Henry Owens. Quite frankly, seeing Owens in a Red Sox uniform again may make me vomit. The experiment with him is over, he simply can’t pitch at this level. In 85 innings pitched in the majors, he has 44 walks and a WHIP of over 1.5. Unfortunately, we may see one of those games soon where Owens pitches five innings and walks four in about three hours.

Another option is Brian Johnson. Johnson has only made one start in the majors and it wasn’t pretty. His season in Pawtucket, however, has been great so far. He’s 2-0 with a 2.64 ERA, outdoing Owens in nearly every category with the Paw Sox. With Johnson exuding major league poise in spring training this year, after overcoming severe anxiety in 2016, Johnson is very likely to take that number five spot soon.

Technically, there is another option with MLB experience. If you thought Kyle Kendrick was bad, how about we rewind to Roenis Elias’s brief Red Sox career. Elias was torched by the Mariners in his debut, giving up two runs in his first four pitches and giving up a total of seven in four innings. If Elias is the guy the Red Sox turn to, something is very, very wrong.

So, Brian Johnson seems like the guy. He pitched well in Spring Training and it’s worth a shot to see if he’s better than Owens or Elias. I mean come on, he has to be, right? Right?

Henry Owens, Brian Johnson Soon to Join Rotation

Prior to a third straight pitching debacle against the Chicago White Sox, manager John Farrell just casually mentioned to the media that both Brian Johnson and Henry Owens should get the call in the next week. These starters are ranked No. 4 and No. 5 respectively overall in the Boston Red Sox farm system

“We’re going to stay on turn through the weekend,” Farrell said according to NESN’s Ricky Brian Johnsondoyle. “Monday being the off-day, we’ve got the ability to adjust going forward. But as we’re taking a look at (recently recalled outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.), our goal and our intent is to see Brian Johnson and probably Henry Owens at some point. So, all that is on the horizon.”

With pitchers Joe Kelly (2-6, 5.94 ERA), Justin Masterson (4-2, 5.62 ERA) and Rick Porcello (5-11, 5.81 ERA) struggling for most of the season and knuckleballer Steve Wright being a 30-year-old journeyman who is more of a spot starter than a long-term option in the rotation, it makes sense to bring up the young pitchers to see if they should be kept or dealt this off season.

Eduardo Rodriguez has proven that he has some work to do, but has pitched admirably while up with the Boston Red Sox this season to the tune of a 4.26 ERA in 11 starts to go along with a 6-3 record and a 52:20 K:BB ratio. The 22-year-old should be in the starting rotation to start the 2016 season

The Red Sox already got a look at Johnson last week as he went 4.1 innings while allowing four earned runs. He may have walked four batters in the outing and thrown more curve balls than fastballs, but the prospect proved he could pitch even with less than stellar stuff on the mound. The fastball topped out at 90 and he can’t blow away anyone, but he showed strong composure for a 24-year-old.

As for Owens, the 23-year-old had a tough go of it to start the 2015 season in Pawtucket, but is 1-4 with a 2.86 ERA over his last 10 starts. Over that span, he has walked just 18 and struck out 54 in 63 innings of work, including a couple nine strikeout contests on July 10th and July 18th in which he allowed three earned runs over 13 innings of work.

The Red Sox need to see which of these lefties will be a mainstay going forward and what better time than now when the team is all but mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.

Henry Owens Sharp As Paw Sox Clinch Playoff Birth

henry owensIt certainly was not a conventional baseball game Sunday at McCoy Stadium. A three-and-a-half hour game with a two-and-a-half hour rain delay, it was a long one to say the least. Henry Owens took the hill for Pawtucket earning the win, his 17th win on the year between AA Portland and AAA Pawtucket. In the end, the Paw Sox came out on top 10-4 as they clinched a Wild Card spot in the Governor’s Cup playoffs.
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Luck did not appear to be on Owens side, who gave up four runs over the course of six innings despite allowing just five base runners. He struck out nine while walking a pair, showing flashes of dominance at times while looking shaky at others.

“Tonight was kind of a back-and-forth outing,” Owens said following the win. “I didn’t have the best command on all my pitches. Giving up back-to-back walks in that third inning kind of killed me, but we put up a lot of runs so I was pretty happy — it kept us in the game”.
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For example in the fifth inning, Owens gave up a solo shot to Eric Farris, his fourth of the season.

“If I’m going to give up dingers, I’ll accept the solo ones,” he said. “But again, walking two guys before I get an out usually ends up with a crooked number on the board”.

As for the adjustment from AA to AAA Owens does not see too much of a difference.

“I feel like it’s the same thing, just trying to limit mistakes in your outings, trying to stay in the strike zone, but not over the plate and tonight I was probably over the plate a little too much,” he added. “I mean, the two walks then I threw a change-up and a guy hit a double. I threw another change-up and another guy hit a double. I just got to finish my pitches a little bit better”.
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Rated as the third best Boston Red Sox prospect, there is plenty of hype about Henry Owens already. Earning Eastern League Pitcher of the Year only added to that hype as have his outings in Pawtucket. In six outings, he owns a 4.03 ERA totaling 38 innings and is showing impressive command, walking 12 while striking out 44.

When asked if he could contribute at the Major League level right now, Owens kept his answer short and clear.

“Absolutely…”