Alright Benchers please help me out here is it too early to worry about the state of the Boston Red Sox starting rotation?
Because I really can’t tell.
When Chris Sale started off the season on Opening Day by allowing six hits, seven earned runs, and three home runs in just three innings of work, I really wasn’t that nervous. I mean let’s be real here, it was his first start of the season, he had only thrown 9 innings in spring training where he went 2-0, struck out 13, and only allowed four hits. I chalked it up to a bad first outing and the 2004, 2007, and 2018 Boston Red Sox, who were all World Series Champions, started off 0-1.
No biggie right.
Then, Nathan Eovaldi stepped onto the mound last night and got rocked for three more Seattle Mariners home runs, allowed six total earned runs and eight hits, while only striking out three. I mean these guys are supposed to be two of our best.
Now, the boys in the dugout and the bullpen had his back. The Mariners didn’t score after their three-run fourth inning, and the Sox scored six unanswered, including a three-run bomb by Mitch Moreland in the top of the 9th to take a 7-6 lead and secure their first win of the season.
Alright, they are back in business and I can take a deep breath. Nope, I was wrong.
Eduardo Rodriguez decided to become the third pitcher for the Red Sox to throw five innings or less and give up five or more earned runs while only striking out five or less. For the second straight night, the bullpen didn’t give up a run but it brings me back to my original question, should I be worried?
Honestly, there is no way in hell I should be worried.
This starting rotation has done so much during their time in the league that one start from three different pitchers isn’t a big enough sample size to really gauge what needs to be done. It’s three games and they’ll be fine. But, I am a little anxious to see if the trend continues with Rick Porcello on Sunday and David Price on Monday.
Outside of my Boston fandom, sorry guys I can’t help myself, the first half week of baseball was something special. Here are a few of the key performances notes from the first three days of the season.
SWIPER NO SWIPING
On Opening Day, Washington Nationals shortstop, Trea Turner, joined a pretty elite club when he became just the 7th player in MLB history to steal three bases on Opening Day. He joins a group that includes Ricky Henderson, Tony Womack, Emilio Bonaficio, Paul Molitor, Davey Lopes, and Johnny Mostil. That’s some pretty elite company and it’s no surprise that Turner is a part of it, in 5 years he has a total of 127 stolen bases and led the league with 43 last year after stealing 46 in 2017.
LONG BALL ADVENTURES
All around the league baseballs have been flying out of ballparks. On opening day alone, five players hit two home runs. 16 players already have two or more and seven have already hit three.
One of those players is Paul Goldschmidt from the St. Louis Cardinals. He had a big night on Day 2 and smashed three home runs and drove in five RBI’s. If you listen to our Heart of the Order podcast, which I highly recommend, you might have heard Dre go on a rant about how Goldy could be this year’s National League MVP. After Day 1, it didn’t look like it because he went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. But, the man straightened up and found himself in a groove.
A SWING AND A MISS
After their first start of the season, four starting pitchers are already in double-digits in strikeouts. Max Scherzer racked up 12, count them 12, swing and misses in his first start of the year against division rival the New York Mets. Twins starter, Jake Odorizzi, followed up teammate Jose Berrios 10 k performance with 11 of his own and only allowed one hit in six innings of work. Gerrit Cole, defending NL Cy Young winner Jacob DeGrom and Detroit’s Matthew Boyd also crossed the double-digit strikeout threshold as well.
THE YOUNG AND RESTLESS
If you listen to the Heart Of The Order, you know OG Greg, Dre, and myself have spoken about the disappointing topic of service time, where organizations leave their star prospects in the minors through the first part of the season to gain an extra year of contract control. Well, that wasn’t the case for some of the youngest and most exciting prospects in the game this time around.
20-year-old Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres made his debut on opening day, he’s tallied three hits and has only scored once but the fact that he is in the big leagues to start the season shows promise.
After signing a six-year, $43 million-dollar deal before the season, Chicago White Sox prized prospect, Eloy Jimenez started the season with the big league club as well. He’s struck out four times, tallied two hits, and also drove in a run.
Their stats might be low at the moment, but these two guys will take off sooner rather than later just watch.
Also, still no sign of Valdimir Guerrero Jr. The top overall prospect, according to MLB.com, strained his left oblique a little over two weeks ago and was expected to miss about three weeks. He was never expected to join the Blue Jays till April because of the service time rule, so that might be delayed even more. But when he does make his first big league experience, expect it to be a show.