The Boston Red Sox were taking something of a calculated risk when they let Jarrod Saltalamacchia walk this past offseason and instead signed A.J. Pierzynski.
Not only did Pierzynski lack the familiarity with the Boston pitching staff, but the veteran backstop has the reputation for being somewhat difficult at times. Through a little more than a quarter of the season, there are still unanswered questions as to how Pierzynski can fit in with the Red Sox pitching staff.
Some are giving Pierzynski a portion of the blame for any of the club’s pitching issues. The Red Sox have a 4.19 ERA with Pierzynski behind the plate and a 3.61 ERA when backup David Ross is catching.
That discrepancy is even bigger when Jon Lester is on the mound. Pierzynski has caught Lester three times this season, and the left-hander has a 6.00 ERA while opponents are hitting .355 in those three starts. With Ross behind the plate, Lester’s ERA is 2.39 and opponents are hitting .194 with Ross doing the catching.
However, Red Sox manager John Farrell insists there’s no issue between Pierzynski and the Boston pitching staff.
“You look at other guys on our staff that’s he’s handled — he and John Lackey probably been as efficient as Jon Lester and David Ross have been,” Farrell said Tuesday on MLB Network Radio. “You look at other guys whether it was Felix Doubront before he went down with the shoulder issue, some of the games he excelled in, AJ was behind the plate.
“Jake Peavy pitched to a sub-3 ERA when AJ was handling him up until the last couple starts where some runs have been given up by Jake. Any time you have competitive people and you’re looking at the same situation, there’s going to be differing of opinions, but it’s not to the point where it’s a conflict by any means.”
However, Farrell revealed that Ross would catch Lester on Tuesday night against the Atlanta Braves.
Farrell said that David Ross will catch Jon Lester again tonight "there's a comfort level between Jon and David"—
MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) May 27, 2014
Hear more from Farrell in the audio clip below.