I have a handful of sports fan rules that I try to abide by as best I can. One of those rules is that you can never, ever, ever complain about anything when your team has the best record in the league. And since the Red Sox have surged to an incredible 17-2 record less than a month into the 2018 season – the best record in baseball by far – complaining about anything right now is completely out of the question.
So with that being said, I just want to get it out there now that I’m not complaining about the fact that Drew Pomeranz is back in the rotation for the Sox. I’m just here to write about the return of the "Pomeranz Experience."
The lefty made his first start of the season in Oakland on Friday night, and he struggled through his short outing by giving up three runs in the first inning, and only lasting into the fourth. It took him nearly 50 pitches just to get through the first two innings.
That’s the Pomeranz Experience. It’s like a roller coaster ride that can be really fun at times, but you have a gut instinct that tells you more times than not that you should probably stay away. The Pomeranz Experience is an enigma that you just can never quite figure out. A lot of times it’s bad, sometimes it’s good, but throughout all of it, you’re never really comfortable with it.
The interesting thing about the Pomeranz Experience is that sometimes it’s actually really good. Take the 2017 season for instance, when Pomeranz put up an outstanding record of 17-6 in 32 starts with a solid ERA of 3.32. The 2017 Pomeranz Experience was a remarkably pleasant and unexpected surprise, given the health issues of David Price that kept him out of his role Boston’s No. 2 starter for most of the year.
But even though Pomeranz excelled in 2017, I still found it hard to fully trust him. The 2016 Pomeranz Experience was enough to always keep the red flags up. He was acquired in July from San Diego after an All-Star worthy first half with the Padres (2.47 ERA, 8-7 record), but upon joining the Red Sox, Pomeranz started "Buchholz-ing."
("Buchholz-ing" definition: When you pitch so poorly that you remind me of Clay Buchholz, the guy that I probably won’t stop hating until 2030.)
Pomeranz won just three out of 13 starts with the Sox after the deadline. He was about as shaky on the mound as you could imagine. For reference, just look back at Clay Buchholz post 2013. Once you start Buchholz-ing, you can never go back. So that’s why, even though Pomeranz took his game to another level in 2017, you always have to be cautious.
Another red flag went up when Pomeranz suffered a forearm strain in spring training, missing the first few weeks of the season. Regardless of the injury, even if it’s just a minor one, you never know what kind of effect it’s going to have on a starting pitcher, especially one who can be as shaky as Pomeranz. So when he made his first start of the year in Oakland on Friday, the Pomeranz Experience was at its absolute finest. You just had no idea what to expect.
Even though the Sox came away with a 7-3 win over the A’s, Pomeranz wasn’t exactly lights out. It took him nearly 50 pitches to get through two innings, and he didn’t make it out of the fourth. He gave up three runs in the first inning, and throughout 85 percent of the time he was in the game, he didn’t really look comfortable.
Now, it’s only one start, and he just recovered from an injury, so I’m not here to say that Pomeranz is going to be terrible in 2018. Hopefully, he’ll be able to find his form from last season again and give the Sox a reliable No. 4 option. That’s what we’re all keeping our fingers crossed for. It might happen.
But, it also might not happen. The only thing we know for sure is that the Pomeranz Experience is back. We’ll do our best to be excited about it.
Ultimately, it doesn’t even really matter, because the Red Sox have steamrolled just about every opponent they’ve played this year. That’s why they have the best record in baseball. We aren’t allowed to complain about a damn thing.