The Boston Red Sox will open up their 2019 season Thursday on the road against the Seattle Mariners as they begin their quest to repeat as World Series champions.
The starting rotation is set, with Chris Sale getting the nod for Thursday’s matchup, followed by Nathan Eovaldi, Eduardo Rodriguez, Rick Porcello and David Price. And while fans know the damage each pitcher can do, they don’t rank as high as one might think on MLB.com’s top 10 rotations.
In fact, the Sox’s rotation doesn’t even crack the top-three, coming in just below in the fourth spot, behind the Cleveland Indians, Washington Nationals and Houston Astros.
Here’s the explanation:
“No rational analysis of this group is complete without the mention of the potential hangover effect that can arise for clubs that go on a long October run, and that factor might be particularly pronounced here, given that Chris Sale dealt with a second-half shoulder issue and two-time Tommy John recipient Nathan Eovaldi pitched deep into the year (and deep into the night in Game 3 of the World Series) after missing all of 2017.
“But with that bit of due diligence out of the way, there’s not much not to like here. If Sale stays healthy, there’s little reason to believe he won’t contend for a Cy Young Award, because that is what he has done literally every season of his career as a starter. David Price matured into a more cutter- — and changeup- — heavy repertoire and has removed the playoff monkey to show for it. Rick Porcello is good for 200 or so quality innings, on average. Eovaldi unlocked something spectacular last year, and 25-year-old Eduardo Rodriguez might be ready to do the same in 2019.”
Sure, the “hangover effect” probably shouldn’t be overlooked. But with much of the squad returning for 2019 and if the starting pitchers are 100 percent healthy, it’s hard to see the Red Sox being anything less than dominant.