The Boston Red Sox’s pitching staff didn’t have a ton of turnaround from last year with a lot of the same names making up the starting rotation and bullpen.
They just seem to be fitting in better this season.
Entering the 2021 season, expectations for the Red Sox weren’t high, predominantly held down by projections for what the pitching staff would look like. But as they sit in first place in the American League East, they’ve enjoyed proving a lot of people wrong.
Pitching has been a big part of that, and whatever manager Alex Cora, pitching coach Dave Bush and bullpen coach Kevin Walker are doing this season seems to be working, to say the least. And according to Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, the other half is that the pitching staff bought in.
“I don’t know that it’s always just one thing, but there is one thing that I point to that I think has been an organizational emphasis, you know, certainly with (Cora) but also with (Bush) and (Walker) and really throughout the organization, which is just being aggressive and remembering that the pitcher has the baseball, and that’s a privilege, and it’s a privilege we want to take advantage of,” Bloom said Tuesday on a pregame video conference before the Red Sox played the Detroit Tigers.
“We want to take it to the opposition. We want to dictate the action, attack the strike zone, do everything we can to put ourselves in favorable counts so we could put hitters away. And I think there’s been a lot of buy-in with that message throughout the staff. Obviously, game-to-game, inning-to-inning, some guys are going to execute it better than others. But the intent has been there really since Day 1 and I think that’s showing a lot of the results that guys have had.”
Ahead of Tuesday night?s matchup with the Detroit Tigers, Boston starters had a 12-8 record with a staff ERA of 3.98 across 149.1 innings pitched. The bullpen has built a 5-4 record with a 3.51 ERA across 105 innings of relief.
Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi, with four wins apiece, are tied for the second-most in Major League Baseball. Matt Barnes has emerged into a lights-out closer this season, named the AL Reliever of the Month for April. Garrett Richards has bounced back from a tough start in his last two outings, and Rule 5 reliever Garrett Whitlock has only given up a single run in 14.1 innings.
Between starters Rodriguez, Eovaldi, Richards, Martín Pérez and Nick Pivetta, the Red Sox have allowed one earned run or fewer in five of their last six games, posting a collective 2.14 ERA in that stretch.