As Matt noted on Tuesday, there shouldn’t be too much concern about what the starting rotation for the Boston Red Sox could be capable of in 2019. From top to bottom, the Red Sox possess what could be one of the top rotations in baseball — something that seemed almost unfathomable as recently as three or four years ago.
Once again, the rotation will be led by a pair of star-level lefties in Chris Sale and David Price. On paper, that’s as good of a 1-2 punch as you could ask for. And yet, while both Sale and Price have looked very, very good — sometimes very, very phenomenal — on individual occasions, they have yet to have a full season together in which they consistently show pure domination at the top of the rotation from the beginning of the year to the end.
Much of that has to do with Price’s tendency to be an up-and-down pitcher (especially in the playoffs), with particular ineffectiveness against the Yankees, as well as Sale’s tendency to wear down late in seasons. During each of their seasons in Boston, both guys have faced their fair share of demons in those respective departments that have at times overshadowed their greatness, fair or not.
But that doesn’t change the fact that Price is a former American League Cy Young winner while Sale is a perennial Cy Young candidate, easily a top three or four starter in the game. Last year, Sale and Price went a combined 28-11 with respective ERAs of 2.11 and 3.25. They also capped off the season by winning their first World Series championship, with Sale recording the final three outs at Dodger Stadium and Price pitching seven innings in the clinching Game 5, finally ousting his postseason woes over the course of October.
If nothing else, both pitchers should be soaring into 2019 with plenty of confidence. And when these two guys are confident, they can be darn near unbeatable.
Does that mean they are going to be consistently unbeatable for the entire 2019 season? Definitely not. Even though they were tremendous in October, and for much of the 2018 campaign, they aren’t perfect. Price will still have his ups and downs. Sale’s shoulder might start misbehaving at some point, most likely in August or September if history is any indication. They’ll give us plenty of reasons to cheer, but there will also be flaws. There always are.
That said, there is the potential that, for one season, both Sale and Price could have something resembling peak seasons of their careers — and they could maintain that dominance on a fairly consistent basis for six straight months. Boston’s rotation would then be rounded out by former Cy Young winner Rick Porcello, postseason hero Nathan Eovaldi, and a youngster with sky high potential in Eduardo Rodriguez. Heck, the Red Sox might just surpass their franchise record of 108 wins that they set last year.
Alright, that last bit might be a bit of a stretch. But it’s a pretty exciting thought, isn’t it? That’s what spring is all about, after all.