The Boston Red Sox’s West Coast road trip was an immense success no matter how the final game against the Seattle Mariners goes, but it didn’t come without a cost.
Both starters are eligible to return on June 24, the first day of their next road trip. First, they will have to get through a nine-game homestand without 40% of their rotation. And calling up Kutter Crawford and Phillips Valdez, who were the corresponding additions to the roster, do not fill the void evenly.
Crawford received the spot start in the bullpen game to end their road trip, and has been stretched out as a starter while with Triple-A Worcester. That said, Eovaldi has averaged 5 2/3 innings over his 12 starts, which figures to be a tall task for the 26-year-old right-hander in his place. Any less than five innings from Eovaldi’s spot in the order could be costly to a bullpen that has already been taxed on the West Coast.
In Whitlock’s place is Valdez, who has been very inconsistent during his tenure in Boston. More importantly, he’s also never been stretched out at the big-league level. His career-high is 3 1/3 innings in 2019, with a few three-inning outings since then. With two starters missing, the length of production in these spots is equally as important as the quality.
Logic would indicate that Valdez or another reliever will be exchanged for a spot starter at some point, with Josh Winckowski being the most likely option to receive said opportunity. With Tanner Houck being transitioned into a high-leverage reliever role, bullpen games on a regular basis are not feasible.
Crawford and Winckowski could get the job done for a couple turns through the rotation, though Nick Pivetta, Michael Wacha and Rich Hill will have to step in the process, possibly even notch another complete game.