Sep 28, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz (11) delivers a pitch during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
4. Boston Red Sox – Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Joe Kelly, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson, Steven Wright
There is changing your starting rotation, and then there is what the Red Sox have done. Out of these pitchers listed, they started a combined 39 games for the team in 2014. Wright started 1, Kelly 10 after being acquired in the John Lackey trade, and Buchholz 28. The thing is, Buchholz led the team in starts, and had a disastrous season. His ERA of 5.34 was the worst since his rookie season. This is a guy with a career ERA of 3.92. As the veteran Red Sox hurler, whether he is their number one pitcher or not, Buchholz is going to have to be better in 2015. Of course, with a healthy offseason, I expect that to be the case for Clay.
It is easy to forget that Porcello is only 26 considering he has six years of experience. And he kind of got overshadowed in Detroit. Porcello is 76-63 with a 4.30 ERA in his career. And that is playing in a division that some would consider light-hitting, and in a park that is pitcher friendly. Not so much anymore. He has seemed to always pitch pretty well against the O’s, so it will be very interesting to see how well he does in Boston.
Kelly is a young pitcher who could be the best pitcher in this rotation. 2014 was a bit of a struggle, but Kelly is a career 3.40 ERA pitcher. He does not strike out many people, so the defense around him will have to be good to help him out in the small confines of Fenway Park. Miley is a pitcher who is more of a strikeout guy, but he has an issue with a lot of hits being registered against him. He yielded over a hit an inning in 2014. As for Masterson, he returns to Boston where he started his career. He also is coming off the worst year of his career, as his ERA was also well past 5 in 2014. Masterson has never been a low WHIP (Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched) guy, but his WHIP in 2014 was an astounding 1.632. This, coming from a guy who was an All-Star in 2013.
Wright did make a start in 2014, but I can’t envision him beating out any of these five veterans for a rotation spot. However, some players are going to have to have comeback years for the Sox to be in contention in 2015.
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