The two biggest questions for the Sox right now are Rick Porcello’s performance yesterday against the Mets and the current health status of David Price.
Yesterday Rick Porcello had a bit of a rough start against the Mets allowing 4 runs on 5 hits in just 3 innings of work. He added one walk and 4 strike outs which was a plus. Should this be looked at as a cause for concern or just a little hick up? I’m guessing the latter. No way does Porcello fall from grace this quickly. David Price on the other hand is resting until he’s healthy enough to perform back to his old self. We’re patiently waiting just as he must before he can pitch again.
Rushing a shoulder injury too quickly can cause more harm than good naturally. It’s better to lose Price for 2-4 weeks at the latest than the entire season for multiple reasons. First off, he’s considered to be the 2nd best pitcher for the Sox, well arguably the 2nd best pitcher behind Chris Sale. Second off, David Price is getting paid $30 million to pitch in 2017. The Red Sox need to protect their investment for this season and a potential 5 more after this one.
Let’s touch on Porcello’s performance quickly. Did anyone see how frustrated he was getting when he wasn’t getting the strike calls? His called strike three call to Tim Tebow was a little low but nonetheless a strike. Christian Vazquez was shaping them pretty nicely and that’s what’s expected from him as the backstop for the Sox. Vazquez in my opinion, is the newer version of Tony Pena. Pena served as the Sox’ backstop from 1990 until 1993. He wasn’t known for his defense not his bat. Porcello has fire, and I appreciate that passion. He’ll do great again this season. A repeat 22 win performance however? Not on my radar.
Price if you remember just a week or so ago, scared all Sox fans with a potential shoulder injury. Had it been severe it would have sidelined him for the entire 2017 season. It seemed like it was over after reports surfaced that Price needed to see specialist Dr. James Andrews. Andrews is renowned as one of the best doctors specializing in the famous Tommy John surgery. He’s one of the few people that no pitcher wants to visit during the course of their career. It’s usually always bad news.
The scare seems to be over for the most part and I’m hoping that Sox management continues to remain cautious in the continual monitoring of his shoulder. If surgery is necessary, it’s better to have it sooner rather than later. Hypothetically if 2017 is a lost cause, its best not to delay the surgery so when 2018 comes, he’s healthy and ready to go.
Predicting pitchers records aren’t always easy. Sometimes you’re pretty close and sometimes you’re way off but rarely are you right on the money. I will say that in order of wins I’m going to go with the following: Sale, Porcello, Rodriguez, Price and Pomeranz. There’s no question that the top three should be Sale, Porcello and Price but with Price’s shoulder I’m gonna play it safe. Of the following, Sale has the best shot at hitting 20+ wins this season. In my opinion he’s the only one with a chance to get 20.
When the Sox picked up Chris Sale, they knew they were going to be getting an elite ace. He’s got his numbers to back up my claim. Anyone who wouldn’t want Chris Sale is nuts. His numbers in the NL would be even more staggering without the DH hitting. Chris Sale who has always remained healthy, is a pretty sure bet to get 33 starts this year. I’ll say that Sale wins at least 60% of his games giving him at least 20 wins. I’m gonna go wild and say that Chris Sale gets 21 wins in 2017. Overall, he finishes his campaign with a 21-7 record, a 3.43 ERA and 266 strike outs in 239 innings. I would have given him an extra win had it not been for that pesky monster out in left field.
I’m predicting that Rick Porcello will come in second on the team in wins this season. Porcello doesn’t get 22 wins this season. I think he’s going to win just over half of his starts this season. It’s a slight cool down from what he did in 2016 when he posted a 22-4 record with 3.15 ERA with 189 strike outs. This season I think Porcello posts a 17-9 record with a 3.63 ERA and adds 173 strike outs in 213 innings pitched.
Eduardo Rodriguez has been something different this year so far in Spring Training. In 2015, Eduardo Rodriguez looked like the next happy story in Boston. 2016 was the exact opposite. In 2015 Rodriguez goes 10-6 and follows that with a 3-7 record in 2016. I’m hoping that Rodriguez can continue in his current form which has drawn praise. One thing E Rod isn’t doing as much now is tipping his pitches. That’ll cut down on home runs and runs allowed down the stretch. This will also be E Rod’s first full season in Boston barring any setbacks. I’m going to tab him with a 14-8 record in 30 appearances with a 4.04 ERA. I’m also predicting he’ll get 164 strike outs in 170 innings pitched. I think 2018 will be an even better year for him.
David Price is going to be someone to watch all season long for multiple reasons. There is no way the Sox are going to let him pitch 200 innings this season. Just simply ain’t happenin’. Sox Manager John Farrell will certainly be monitoring the Sox major investment. The Red Sox signed Price prior to 2016 to a mega 7 year $217 million dollar season. With 6 years and $187 million still owed to him, the Sox will play it safe and rest him after he pitches in and around 160-175 innings. That’s around 55-60 innings less than last season. I’m gonna say that Price starts 25 games this season posting a 13-5 record with a 3.51 ERA. I think he’ll once again be benefitting from the offense again just like last season. I think he’ll add 164 innings pitched with 168 strike outs. A quality season and definitely a check for Boston going into the post season and beyond.
Last but not least we got Drew Pomeranz. This will be a real test for him and for the Sox. I don’t know if the Sox are going to keep him beyond 2017. He’s a potential trade chip if someone becomes available. I’m hoping Pomeranz can start off hot for that reason. DP is not someone I’ve got high hopes for going into this season as injuries are a concern. I think he’ll have a decent record for a 5th starter but the numbers will be inflated because of the Sox offense. I think Pomeranz gets injured at least once this season opening the door for Steven Wright to claim the 5th spot in the rotation. All in all, I see Pom getting 24 starts and posting an 11-9 record with a 4.82 ERA. I’m gonna say he goes for 141 innings during the course of the season striking out 157.
The Sox will get a big lift from Chris Sale this season to make up for what will be a probable disappointing season for Pomeranz. Porcello will again dominate just not to the same effect as 2016. David Price will have a decent season but it’s his injury that Sox fans will keep more eyes on. This could set up Steven Wright ready in the wings for a potential knuckleball nightmare for opposing matchups. No one could really figure out Wright last season. Just to recap in 2016 against the Yanks, Wright went 2-0 including a complete game in New York striking out 11 in 15 innings pitched.