Though the Boston Red Sox held their Opening Day on Thursday, one of their most important arms got to kick things off for Triple-A Worcester on Friday.
Garrett Whitlock, who is entering a pivotal season with the Red Sox, had the opportunity to be the Woo Sox’s pitcher for an Opening Day matchup against the Syracuse Mets at Polar Park. His performance? Not half bad.
Whitlock went four full innings in Worcester, allowing just one earned run on six hits against a Mets lineup that is littered with intriguing prospects. The statistic that will excite Red Sox fans, however, is his 6-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, in which he threw 66% of his 75 pitches for strikes.
The big-league Red Sox struggled mightily when it came to throwing strikes on Opening Day, surrendering nine walks to the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park. Anything under that feels like a win early on in the season.
The quality of Whitlock’s outing seemed to decrease throughout, as is to be expected for a player working his way back to full strength. After averaging a fastball of 94 mph in the first inning, the 26-year-old saw that number dwindle to 91-92 mph in the fourth inning. The changeup was solid throughout, as Whitlock used his best pitch to finish of five of his six strikeouts.
Whitlock is expected to receive one or two more rehab starts before making his return to the Red Sox.