Jon Lester once thrived working with John Farrell.
For a rotation that ranked in the bottom of the American League in losses (72), ERA (5.19) and WHIP (1.42), not adding players would make very little sense for the Red Sox. However, the team did hire their former pitching coach as the new manager, John Farrell, who can help certain starters rediscover their past form.
Lester and Buchholz are recent Cy Young candidates, and Doubront is just 25 years old and showed flashes of dominance in 2012. But then, there’s John Lackey who
posted an undefeated record underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012 and will enter the 2013 season healthy, and Franklin Morales who pitched as an emergency starter during the influx of injuries to the starting rotation.
Lester and Buchholz certainly pitched better in the past with Farrell as their pitching coach, and both will need to rebound after a disappointing 2012 season.
Lester had the worst season of his career in 2012, posting a 9-14 record, 4.82 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 166 strikeouts. However, as a full-time starting pitcher from 2008 to 2010 with Farrell as the Red Sox pitching coach, Lester averaged approximately a 17-8 record with a 3.29 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 200.7 strikeouts per season.
In an interview with ESPN Boston, Lester displayed his excitement to work with his old pitching coach again:
It will be good to have a familiar face (Farrell) and know what to expect coming into spring training...Last year we didn’t know what to expect. I know John, and I’m excited to get back working with him.
Last year, Buchholz also struggled without Farrell, posting an 11-8 record with a 4.56 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and .263 opposing average. In Farrell’s final year with Boston, Buchholz also had a tremendous season, posting a 17-7 record with a 2.33 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and .226 opposing average in 2010. Prior to that season, Buchholz never pitched a full season. This year, he’ll enter the season healthy with his old pitching coach again, who he once thrived with.
Doubront will get his first full season pitching with the new manager. In 2010, Doubront pitched both as a starter and a reliever in his rookie season, posting a 4.32 ERA. Since then, the southpaw has a 4.94 ERA. Doubront started 2012 with a solid 9-4 record and an average 4.41 ERA, but after the all-star break, he had a 2-6 record with a 5.54 ERA.
The Red Sox should count on Lester, Buchholz and Doubront for improvements in the 2013 season, but three won’t be enough to carry the rotation that includes Lackey and Morales. The team certainly needs another starting pitcher or two, so Morales can be effective again in middle-relief and Lackey does not have to be a full-time pitcher.
In 2012, the current starters were terrible. In 2013, the current rotation could be better than average, if Lester and Buchholz can pitch like aces again.