Even though the Red Sox added J.D. Martinez this offseason, they are going to be a team built around starting pitching. That’s what happens when you have Chris Sale and Cy Young winners David Price and Rick Porcello at the top of the rotation. Obviously, each player had a very different 2017 campaign, but that’s in the past. Its what happens going forward that matters now.
Over the weekend, each of the “big three” (no offense to Drew Pomeranz) got to put in extended work from the hill and its time to examine how they did.
If I told you that the Red Sox ace was as dominant as ever, would you be even remotely surprised? I didn’t think so. Sale made his spring debut on Friday and was just as filthy as ever. He struck out five Marlins in four innings of work, allowing only two hits and a single earned run. According to reports, there was no loss of zip on his pitches, as he consistently got into the mid 90s with his fastball. Opening Day can’t get here soon enough.
Price didn’t have as exciting a debut. In fact, because of inclement weather he didn’t get to make his scheduled debut on Saturday at all. So instead, he threw in the bullpen, hurling about 90 pitches, while working in most of his arsenal except the curveball, according to MLB.com. We’ll have to keep waiting for Price’s spring debut, but it seems to be fast approaching.
If Sale’s debut was just right and Price’s was too cold, then Porcello’s second start of the spring finished off the trio of outings too hot. Against the Orioles on Sunday afternoon, he struggled to avoid contact, allowing seven hits and four earned runs over four innings of work. On the plus side, he at least kept the ball in the zone, walking zero batters. He also struck out three batters. Porcello has proven to be durable, throwing at least 200 innings in the last two seasons, but in 2018 he needs to bounce back from a pretty forgettable 2017. One spring training start won’t dictate his success for the whole campaign, so there’s no reason to be worried. But there’s little optimism to be had either.
Rafael Devers has already established that he is an aggressive hitter, and a very good one as well. (Jason Mastrodonato; Boston Herald)
Craig Kimbrel’s daughter Lydia, who has been dealing with a heart issue since being born in November, has the full support of the Red Sox organization (Christopher Smith; MassLive)
Even if teams are making inquiries about Blake Swihart, the Red Sox may be best off not flipping him since the return won’t be all that great. (Matthew Kory; BP Boston)