One thing is clear about the Boston Red Sox and their overhauled roster in 2021: If the pitching doesn’t improve, it could be a challenging year.
Last season, Red Sox pitchers — starters, in particular — struggled mightily. Perhaps that was because Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez were out, but regardless, starters seldom made it deep into games, and the bullpen was taxed as a result. It was a tough combo.
But things should be different this season. E-Rod is back and looking good, and he will be the Opening Day starter. The Red Sox still have Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Perez and Nick Pivetta, with Tanner Houck likely beginning the season in the minors. They added Garrett Richards in the offseason, as well as Matt Andriese. Plus, Sale should return at some point.
On Thursday, Richards raved about the state of the rotation.
“We’ve got dogs, we’re out there to win and we’re all pushing for each other,” Richards said over Zoom. “It’s a tight-knit group even though we’ve only been together a month and a half or so. We all want each other to do well, and that’s what I think great staffs do — we push each other and we’re always rooting for each other. We share information, we talk pitching, sequences, certain hitters, whatever it may be, but we’re all trying to help each other. We’re all about winning ballgames and ultimately winning a championship.
“It’s been nice to see us naturally come together so far without even really trying. So it’s been nice, this whole group, really, to be honest with you. I’m the new guy here and it’s been really easy to fall into place and build relationships with guys here in spring before we get going.”
He then capped it off with this:
“I think this is going to be a special team. I’ve played on a few teams and I’ve been around a little bit, and I think this is going to be a team that is sneaky good. We don’t necessarily need everybody to talk about us, but we’ll be there in the end, I promise you that.”
The Red Sox all but certainly will have one of the most offensively gifted lineups in baseball this season. If the pitching comes around, don’t sleep on Boston.