Boston Red Sox: Just How Bad Have Boston Starters Been This Season?
The pitching has been the biggest reason the Red Sox are last in the AL East with a 5-10 record. The main culprit has been their bullpen, which has an ERA of 8.06. Only the Rays join them in having an ERA over five.
But while most of the blame has to lie with the relief corps, the starters haven't exactly been impressive thus far. So just how bad have they been, and what grade do they deserve after three trips through the rotation?
Jon Lester got the ball on Opening Day for the second straight season, cementing his role as this rotation's ace. He looked like it in that game, allowing just one run in seven innings.
Since then, though, he hasn't been so good. In his last three outings, Lester is 0-2 with a 7.94 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP.
Lester, you feel, is on the cusp of being a dominant lefty, but he has been close for a few years now and looks farther than ever from being "elite."
Josh Beckett's season debut was an unmitigated disaster. He allowed seven runs on seven hits, including five home runs, in 4.2 innings.
His next two outings have been much better though. Beckett shut down Tampa Bay, holding the Rays to one run in eight innings, then limited Texas to three runs in seven innings. The first game still makes you worried but the two quality starts since have been very encouraging.
How long do you wait for Clay Buchholz to shake off the rust? A back injury ended his season before the All-Star Game last year and his debut this year was his first start since June 16th.
It was a given that we would have to wait for Buch to get back into the swing of things, but he has been truly awful this season.
In three games, he has given up seven runs, five runs and six runs (five earned), respectively. His last start against New York saw him give up five home runs and it's sheer luck that they were all solo blasts, otherwise the 6-2 loss would have been a blowout.
Felix Doubront won the starting job after a very impressive spring training and he's continued that, more or less, into the regular season.
He's pitched to a sub-4.00 ERA, struck out more than 11 batters per nine innings and totally shut down the Yankees' vaunted offense on Saturday.
Doubront has been Boston's best starter this season.
Daniel Bard had been performing reasonably well as a starter when he was moved back to the bullpen for a cameo role on Monday. He was 0-2 but pitched a lot better than what his record showed.
Bard's debut was unlucky. He gave up five runs but if things broke the other way, he'd have given up maybe two.
His second outing was excellent. He kept the Rays scoreless through 6.2 innings but still took the loss after manager Bobby Valentine decided to ignore everything that was happening and leave him in the game until he died a slow death.
Adam MacDonald is a Scottish journalism student at GCU. He has been a featured columnist for the Boston Red Sox since October 2010. You can follow him on Twitter, or tell him how awesome/terrible this article was, by clicking here.