BOSTON (CBS) — After shellacking the Orioles on Opening Day, the Red Sox promptly lost two straight to one of the worst teams in all of baseball. In a 60-game season, that simply cannot happen for a team hoping to make a run at the playoffs.
But for the Red Sox, it’s easy to pinpoint the issue they had Saturday and Sunday against the lowly O’s. After Nathan Eovaldi gave the team six innings of one-run ball Friday night, Boston’s starting pitching was putrid over the weekend. Martin Perez was tagged for four runs over five innings, and Ryan Weber was hit for six earned over just 3.2 innings. Even with Eovaldi’s Opening Day gem, Boston starters own a 6.97 ERA for the young season.
Those three are essentially Boston’s starting rotation at the moment, with Josh Osich and Matt Hall tabbed to start for Boston against the New York Mets. If you’re asking “who?” we have linked to their pages on Baseball Reference so you can do a quick study session on the Nos. 4 and 5 starters — or likely “openers” — in the Boston Red Sox rotation. The very same Boston Red Sox team that is still somehow third in MLB in overall payroll.
While a powerful offense should win them some games, Boston’s starting rotation is a mess. Chris Sale is on the shelf for the season, and ace Eduardo Rodriguez is dealing with a heart issue stemming from his bout with coronavirus. Rodriguez has been shut down for at least a week and it’s unclear when he’ll be back in the rotation. That leaves a gigantic hole in an already thin starting rotation.
So don’t be surprised if the Red Sox start trying a number of different players from their player pool, or even welcoming in unemployed starting pitchers on a nightly basis as they try to find anyone to plug the holes in their rotation. Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom and GM Brian O’Halloran will be scouring the bargain bin all season, though O’Halloran said the team won’t overreact to a less-than-ideal start to the season.
“Look, you don’t want to overreact to to just a couple days,” O’Halloran told Dan Roche on Sunday night’s Sports Final on WBZ-TV. “But we knew coming in that, with everything that’s that’s gone on particularly with Chris being out for the year and with Eduardo being being delayed here, that there are some challenges. It didn’t go well the last couple of days, but you don’t want to overreact to that either.
“I think you’re always trying to improve in every area, and obviously, pitching is our is our area where we’re focused on in terms of trying to improve the most right now,” he said. “Obviously, we have a really good lineup. That’s not to say that we wouldn’t look to upgrade our depth and things like that on the on the offensive side, but you’re always looking to upgrade. You’re always open-minded to anyone that can help, whether that’s through waiver claims or trades or things like that. So we’re going to be open-minded to that.”
While the Red Sox won’t jump to any conclusions after just one series, they understand that the team doesn’t have time on its side with a shortened season.
“It definitely is different and each game does matter more,” said O’Halloran. “I don’t think it changes, your overall attitude as a front office person towards trying not to overreact to one game. But you might be quicker to get there after some type of losing streak or things like that, because obviously one long losing streak can really submarine your chances.”