The hope for a starting pitcher is to go deep into a ballgame and put his team in good position to win. Unfortunately for the Boston Red Sox, Drew Pomeranz hasn’t able to do that very often in the 2017 season.
Pomeranz struggled through another short outing Friday night in the Red Sox’s 8-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park. The left-hander only lasted 4 1/3 innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits with two walks.
Since Boston traded for Pomeranz at the MLB All-Star break last season, the 28-year-old hasn’t been much of an innings eater. The lefty employs a rather slow pace on the mound and often tries to dance around the strike zone with off-speed pitches rather than pounding the zone. As a result, Pomeranz often reaches a 100-plus pitch count early in his outing, forcing Red Sox manager John Farrell to tap into his bullpen much sooner than he’d like.
Pomeranz only has pitched into the seventh inning once this season. Furthermore, he’s gone six innings or fewer in eight of his 12 starts in the 2017 campaign. This has put stress on Boston’s relievers, who have been overworked this season.
It’s not as though Pomeranz doesn’t have the stuff to be a workhorse-style pitcher. His fastball registers in the mid-to-high 90s, and he also has a solid cutter to compliment a filthy curveball. If he gets ahead in the count and keeps hitters off balance, this trend of short outings soon could be resolved. Yet Pomeranz is a former reliever himself who has pitched more than 100 innings just once in a single season, so the Sox must be careful in monitoring his workload.
If Pomeranz begins to right the ship, the Red Sox’s starting rotation could become very formidable. Chris Sale has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, and it doesn’t hurt to have the reigning American League Cy Young winner in Rick Porcello on your roster, either. Not to mention, David Price is coming back to form after returning from injury.
Then again, if Pomeranz continues to struggle, there could be some major question marks surrounding the back end of Boston’s starting rotation.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Tigers.
— Here’s an update on Steven Wright as he rehabs from a season-ending knee injury:
— Detroit jumped on Boston early, scoring three runs in the first inning. The Red Sox are 10-18 this season in games their opponents score first.
— Dustin Pedroia smacked an RBI double in the third inning. The Red Sox second baseman is batting .366 with runners in scoring position this season.
— Hanley Ramirez plated Boston’s first run of the game with an RBI single in the first inning. Ramirez has reached base safely in each of his last 21 games at Fenway Park.
— Mookie Betts went 2-for-4 with a single and a double. He leads Major League Baseball with 86 multi-hit games since 2016.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images