The Red Sox currently sit in 4th place of the American League East with a 21-24 record after a 7-2 loss to the Twins on Memorial Day. Joe Kelly was handed his fourth loss of the season after a horrid 1.2 innings in which he allowed 8 hits and 7 earned runs. Boston’s pitching has been among the worst in the MLB this season and as of late, their hitting has become just as big of an issue. With the 3rd highest payroll in the MLB at around 187 million dollars, some think the Red Sox are underperforming. The question is, who’s to blame for all of this?
The GM of the Boston Red Sox Ben Cherington has gotten a lot of praise after the clubs 2013 World Series title, but as of late Cheringtons moves, or lack of moves, have come into question.
Cherington brought the Red Sox into the 2015 season knowing his starting rotation was in shambles. In 2014 Cherington traded his ace pitcher Jon Lester away, which in the end brought back starter Rick Porcello. Cherington later failed to sign the free agent Lester in the offseason. Cheringtons next move was to send another front of the rotation arm away (John Lackey) for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly. With Craig in Triple-A and Kelly most likely on his way down, this trade has essentially been rendered a disaster. Cherington also added to the rotation by signing two other bottom of the rotation pitchers Justin Masterson and Wade Miley.
Common sense would tell you to go out and replace your number 1 and 2 starting pitchers correct? Apparently not.
Cheringtons idea of “replacing” Lester and Lackey was to put together a rotation of “mid-to-bottom” of the rotation pitchers and hope one of them (Porcello/Buchholz) becomes the ace they need. Now 45 games into the season, it has become apparent that this long shot is unfolding worse than they could’ve imagined.
Would it have been smart to make a trade for an ace in the offseason?
Manager John Farrell surprisingly hasn’t been getting any blame for the clubs struggles this season. After firing pitching coach Juan Nieves and hiring Carl Willis as his replacement, the Red Sox rotation has been pitching well of late. This has resulted in the blame being placed on Nieves, and not Farrell. The Red Sox have been pitching well of late not because of Willis, but because finally someone lit a fire under them. The firing of Nieves sparked Boston’s rotation into actually caring about their performances and effort each time they’re handed the ball. Could this have been done without firing Nieves? Absolutely. If Farrell had held his staters accountable, and lit a fire under them himself, maybe Nieves would still have a job.
With the Red Sox finally getting some good pitching, their hitting has quickly become the issue. Instead of holding his players accountable for their play, Farrell continues to role out the same line-up every night. Maybe sit Napoli who’s barely hitting .200 and see if that’ll spark him? Possibly tell Sandoval to stop switch hitting due to his pitiful average from the right side of the plate? Shake up the line-up a bit? Or call out some players to motivate them?
Farrell has to send a message to his players. He can’t just sit there and assume everything will fall into place. If he continues, he may be the one packing his bags next.