The Boston Red Sox played their tenth game of the season on Friday night against their division rivals the Baltimore Orioles. If there’s one thing we have learned so far this season, it’s that the Sox can put up a lot of runs. On the flipside, they also give up a lot of runs — even in wins.
Going into Friday night, the Red Sox were tied for second in the MLB in runs scored with 56. They were also second in runs batted in with 54 and tied for fifth in home runs with 11.
They were also 25th in all of baseball in team ERA with 4.75 and third in runs allowed with 50 (47 earned). Out of the nine games prior to Friday’s contest, Red Sox starters had five quality starts and the pitching as a whole struck out 80 batters, which was good for seventh in the MLB.
Going into the season, many knew that the Red Sox would have pitching concerns, but the starters haven’t been the main issue. Their five quality starts in the first nine games of the year can back that up. Joe Kelly pitched lights out last Saturday against the New York Yankees only allowing one run in seven innings. The Red Sox ended up winning 8-4, meaning the bullpen gave up three runs. If that’s a 2-1 game, the Sox lose.
In the 19-inning marathon against the Yankees, Boston’s lead was blown three separate times in that game before they won. If the Sox truly have World Series aspirations then their bullpen needs to step up when called upon. The Red Sox starters aren’t going to be good enough to go the whole way every start.
After that, it’s a lot of question marks. They should regain some consistency once Brandon Workman comes back from injury. Perhaps trading one of their many outfielders — like Allen Craig or Daniel Nava — for a reliever could also be something in the cards.
The Red Sox have the luxury of having one of the best lineups in baseball. Barring injury, they should be consistent throughout the whole season, but that won’t be enough in October.
Playoff baseball is built on good pitching, both starters and relievers. Games will be much closer with opposing pitchers stepping up their performances in order to make it to the fall classic.
The good news is that it is still early and something the Red Sox can fix before then. If not, they could be having a shorter season than they would like.