Since Opening Day, the Boston Red Sox have looked completely lost. What adjustments need to be made in order to turn this around quickly?
First of all, the Boston pitching has not been great. Besides Nathan Eovaldi, Brandon Workman, Colten Brewer, and Matt Barnes, this pitching staff is the worst Red Sox fans have seen in quite some time. With Eduardo Rodriguez shut down for at least another week with heart inflammation due to COVID-19, this shortened season looks like a long one for Boston. Further, former Cy Young award winner Chris Sale is out for the season following Tommy John surgery.
So can they turn this around?
The most urgent priority should be adding pitching help. A leading candidate is Mike Foltynewicz, who was designated for assignment by Atlanta following a loss against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night. Foltynewicz, 28, started that game at Tropicana Field and allowed six earned runs and three home runs in 3.1 innings. Over that span, he struck out three and walked four.
Foltynewicz pitched decently for the Braves prior to his 2018 breakout campaign, when he registered a 2.85 ERA with 202 strikeouts in 183 innings. As a result, he finished eighth in the NL Cy Young balloting, and Foltynewicz looked like a young centerpiece for the Braves.
However, he ran into arm problems … and then came steep velocity loss.
In 2014, Foltynewicz boasted a fastball that checked in above 98 mph. That figure dropped significantly less than 95 mph last season, and on Monday he was at times below 90 mph with his four-seamer.
Foltynewicz would be a cheap option if he were traded before his time on the waiver wire was up. He has proven himself in this league, which is more than what can be said about half of the options on the Red Sox’ roster.
The list of free agent pitchers might not impress you, but there is a great list of names here. Jason Vargas, Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada, Clay Buchholz, and Danny Salazar highlight the list of starting pitchers that are currently available.
With the pitching being as bad as it has been, the defense becomes as important as ever. It doesn’t help that Rafael Devers has three errors in the first four games of the season. This is omething that has been an on-again, off-again presence throughout his major league career. He has shown flashes of being an elite defender but he gets lost with the fundamentals at times.
The offense left its spark on Opening Day and desperately needs to make some noise until the pitching situation gets under control. Being more patient at the plate and getting on base will surely help. With only 55 games left to figure this out, will Chaim Bloom and co. fix the problem, or will the Red Sox be in it for the long haul?