The Boston Red Sox would have a perfect record this season if the bullpen hadn’t collapsed on Opening Day. Each Boston starter has put the team in the best position to win their four games, and that includes Hector Velazquez who no one thought would be on the roster.
With Drew Pomeranz, Steven Wright, and Eduardo Rodriguez all out, the backend of the rotation seems a bit makeshift. On Sunday, Velazquez held up his end of the bargain though. Brian Johnson now will start the fifth game of the year on Monday against the Miami Marlins. He should hope that he pitches as well as everyone else has so far.
Last Thursday, Chris Sale seemed to be in midseason form already. He went 6 full innings as the Red Sox gave him a 3-0 lead. Sale allowed just 1 hit all day while walking 3 and striking out 9. The Boston bullpen couldn’t hold the lead though and the Red Sox lost their first game of the season 6-4. It was in no way Chris Sale’s fault though, as he set the tone for the rest of the Red Sox starting pitchers going forward. He sets the bar high as an ace, and that’s exactly what Red Sox fans should hope for.
In the next game, David Price did not disappoint. He threw just 76 pitches, allowing 4 hits and no runs to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Red Sox were able to give him a 1-0 lead with a Rafael Devers RBI single, and that was all he needed. Price made it through 7 innings and came out with the win.
Game 3 was where fans really were beginning to question the rotation before the season began. Rick Porcello won the Cy Young in 2016 but may have been the worst starting pitcher in the majors last season. Porcello’s 2018 seems to be off to a start in the right direction though as he went 5.1 innings allowing 6 hits and 1 earned run. He struck out 4 Rays batters while walking just one. The performance earned Porcello the win, and the streak of hot Red Sox starting pitching continued.
In the season finale, Hector Velazquez took the mound with hopes to give Boston the series win. He made it 5.2 innings in the game, with his only run allowed being a solo home run off the bat of Brad Miller. Velazquez was nearly flawless otherwise, as he struck out 5 batters. The bullpen was able to hold onto the lead and Velazquez earned the win as Boston improved to 3-1 in 2018.
Brian Johnson will look to become the latest Red Sox pitcher to have a solid start when he takes the mound in Miami. The Marlins are in a full rebuild mode, but they were able to win 2 games against the Cubs over the weekend. A start that goes 6 innings and allows 2 or fewer runs should be perfect for Johnson on Monday.
That series, a short two-game stint in Miami, will be closed with a Chris Sale start on Tuesday before the Red Sox play their home opener against the Rays on Thursday.
It’s become clear that the Red Sox are the team to beat in the AL East with a dominant starting rotation, and they aren’t even at full strength. When Pomeranz, Wright, and Rodriguez do all return, there will be some tough decisions to be made and Boston will have some of the best arms in the league on their side. For now, though, the team has to be very pleased with just how well each of the starting pitchers has begun the season.