It can easily be argued the Red Sox’s biggest detriment in 2022 was their reliance on young, unproven pitchers.
Now, it wasn’t exactly Boston’s idea to throw a bunch of Triple-A pitchers into a Major League Baseball setting. Injuries to Chris Sale, James Paxton, Garrett Whitlock and Nathan Eovaldi essentially forced the Red Sox into calling up the likes of Kutter Crawford, Josh Winckowski, Connor Seabold and Brayan Bello before they were fully ready to contribute.
The hope is that Boston won’t have to deal with such uncertainty throughout 2023, but things are starting similarly.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced Thursday that Crawford would start the team’s fourth game of the season on April 3 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, per Alex Speier of The Boston Globe, while Winckowski will work out of the bullpen to start the year.
That announcement has essentially sealed Boston’s initial rotation, with Corey Kluber, Sale, Tanner Houck, Crawford and Pivetta rounding things out to start the season.
It’s unlikely things stay that way, however.
Whitlock, Bello and Paxton were all placed on the 10-day injured list Thursday, meaning they will not take up spots on the Red Sox’s Opening Day roster. Joely Rodriguez and Wyatt Mills will likely join them from the bullpen, which has opened up a lane for Winckowski to get some relief work at the major league level.
Kluber, Sale, Bello, Whitlock, Paxton and Pivetta all seem to be options for the full-time rotation so long as everyone is healthy, with Houck and Crawford likely becoming Boston’s long relief men. The likes of Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin and John Schreiber will all serve in late-inning roles, which is good news for those who want to see a set group in the bullpen.
Though things are always subject to change, it now appears we know who will be starting the first handful of games for the Red Sox this season. It all kicks off with Kluber on March 30 against the Baltimore Orioles, a game you can watch live on NESN or with NESN360.