Early Impressions from Each Boston Red Sox Starter
We are already seven days into the 2013 Major League Baseball Season. Yes, it is too early to get excited about promising performances. And it is especially early to express concern over slow starters.
But just so we have a grasp of which players are most responsible for Boston's solid 4-2 start, let's take a look at the week in review.
Here are our early impressions from what we have seen so far from every Red Sox starter:
Lester’s spring dominance seems to have carried into the regular season. He is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and 13 strikeouts in two starts against AL East foes.
Lester worked five innings in his Opening Day start against the Yankees, allowing two runs on five hits, fanning seven and walking two. His outing could have lasted longer had it not been for a high pitch count—he threw 34 pitches in fourth inning.
Yesterday, Lester took the ball in his second start of the season at the Rogers Centre. He stymied the Blue Jays potent offense (albeit without All-Star slugger Jose Bautista), pitching seven shutout innings, scattering five hits and striking out six.
Clay Buchholz is scheduled to pitch the Red Sox home opener at 2:05 this afternoon against the Baltimore Orioles. He was impressive in his first start against the Yankees. He went seven innings, allowing one run on six hits, while striking out four and walking a pair.
He is 1-0 on the season with a 1.29 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
After one game Ryan Dempster is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP.
He struggled with command, walking four, and allowed three earned runs on five hits (one homer) while striking out eight.
But Dempster pitched better than his final line suggests. Had it not been for the high walk total he may have been able to pitch deeper into the game, possibly earning a quality start.
Dempster also did not receive much help from his offense; the Red Sox mustered just two runs of support for the 35-year-old veteran.
Felix Doubront was solid in his 2013 debut at the Toronto Blue Jays. While he was not stellar by any means, Doubront had a satisfying outing, scattering nine hits over five frames, allowing three runs and striking out six.
He was pulled after just 90 pitches, and did not receive a decision in the 6-4 Red Sox win.
Doubront is scheduled to pitch the finale of the Orioles series on Thursday.
Saturday marked the first time John Lackey took the hill for the Red Sox since September of 2011. After having Tommy John surgery following the 2011 season, he missed all of 2012, and came into 2013 determined to win fans over.
He was solid early, showing excellent command of his pitches and limiting the Toronto offense.
But in the fifth inning Lackey fired a pitch to Jose Reyes then briskly walked off the mound, clutching his right arm in pain.
Red Sox Nation held its collective breath—and most would wonder why, considering it regarded a player they formerly despised.
Luckily Lackey was diagnosed with a bicep strain which was not related to his previous injury.
One of the reasons the Red Sox acquired Mike Napoli this offseason was because of his perceived power numbers.
Although he is struggling to hit for average in the early goings, Napoli has come as advertised as far as thump is concerned.
He has started all six games and has belted a pair of homers, with a double and has driven in seven runs. Napoli has long been known to love Fenway Park, so expect his numbers to improve once he gets more comfortable with his new surroundings in Boston.
Dustin Pedroia is off to a hot start in 2013.He has started all six games at second base and is hitting .346 with a double, three RBI and a .433 OBP.
He has hit safely in five of Boston's first six games, including four multi-hit performances.
Stephen Drew is expected to make his 2013 debut with the Red Sox later this week, which means Jose Iglesias will be heading back to Pawtucket.
But in the five games he has started at shortstop for the Red Sox, Iglesias has shown a vast improvement at the plate. While several of his hits have been infield singles that he has beaten with his speed (as well as a bunt single), Iglesias looks more comfortable at the plate.
After getting off to a slow start in the opening series against the Yankees—most likely due to a 102-degree fever—Will Middlebrooks teed off on Toronto Blue Jays pitching this past weekend.
He went 6-for-13 in the series with four home runs (three of which came in the finale), two doubles and five RBI.
Jackie Bradley Jr
Following an unprecedented spring, rookie sensation Jackie Bradley Jr. broke camp with the Red Sox. He made his major league debut last week against the Yankees, going 0-for-2 with three walks and an RBI ground out.
What was most impressive was his poise and patience at the plate. He did not seem awe-struck by the experience of playing at Yankee Stadium during his first big league game.
He started in left field for the first time in his professional career, making a spectacular catch and robbing Robinson Cano of extra bases.
He recorded his first major league hit in the second game of the series—an RBI double. Since then however he has cooled off, going just 1-for-11 with five strikeouts in the Toronto series.
Jacoby Ellsbury is off to a quick start. In Boston's first seven games of the season he is hitting .310 with a homer, two doubles and seven RBI.
He has also swiped four bags, displaying John Farrell's philosophy of being aggressive and manufacturing runs.
When Shane Victorino signed a three-year, $39 million deal, it had a lot of people confused. After all it was a hefty sum for an aging outfielder who was coming off his worst year.
But so far Victorino has been a force in the lineup. He is hitting .320 with four RBI and two stolen bases entering Monday's action.
With David Ortiz currently on the disabled list, Jonny Gomes has served as the team's designated hitter.
He has played in four games hitting .273 with a double and three walks. Perhaps what is most notable about Gomes so far is his plate discipline. He is sporting a .429 OBP after one week of play.
Daniel Nava has been the alternate option at DH for the Red Sox, starting primarily against right-handed pitching.
He has made the most of his limited playing time, hitting .400, with a homer, a double and three RBI.
However, Nava will likely be optioned back to Pawtucket once David Ortiz is activated off the disabled list.
Saltalamacchia quietly put together a solid spring, but has been quiet offensively in his first few games.
He is currently hitting just .188 with a double and an RBI. He has however, shown patience at the plate, drawing four walks, and posting an early OBP of .350.