Boston Red Sox: Why Franklin Morales Is the Best Pitcher on the Staff

Christopher Benvie@CSBenvie81Correspondent IIJune 29, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 28:  Starting pitcher Franklin Morales #46 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 28, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

In just three games, Franklin Morales has proven his immense value as a starter for the Boston Red Sox.

Though rendering a no-decision on Thursday night in a classic pitchers dual with Felix Hernandez, Morales held his own and went blow for blow with a pitcher many argue to be the best in the game today.

Morales went seven scoreless innings, giving up just three hits, striking out seven and only walking two batters. Hernandez pitched a complete game allowing five hits, walking one, but striking out 13.

Morales needed to bring his best stuff going up against King Felix. He did just that.

However, it is more than just what Morales did last night. In his three starts on the season Morales has an impressive 2.06 ERA through 18 innings of work. 

During his outings he has struck out 24 batters, while giving up just three walks (two of which coming last night.) Morales has been incredibly effective in the starting role.

As WEEI's Rob Bradford points out, Morales has accumulated 40 swings and misses during his three starts, which is good enough for third most of any starter in baseball over that same span.

In the last 14 days, only three pitchers in baseball have struck out more batters than Morales. One of which being his opponent from Thursday, Hernandez with 30, Yu Darvish has 29 and Max Scherzer has 26.

The next member of the Red Sox on that list is Jon Lester in a four-way tie for 10th with 17 strikeouts in the past 14 days.

Morales, who was brought in as a spot-starter to spell a couple of outings while the regular starters could recover from injuries, just may be working his way towards an everyday member of the rotation. 

He has tremendous upside. The man is just 26 years old and is showing that he is quite capable of pitching effectively in a major market pressure cooker like Boston, and he's making it look good while he's doing it.