For all the questions that surrounded the group in spring training, the starting rotation keeps putting together competitive outings for the Boston Red Sox.

Garrett Whitlock took the ball on Thursday night against the Baltimore Orioles, looking to further improve the league’s best staff ERA. The right-hander did his job, allowing just one earned run over five solid innings with four strikeouts with an improved pitch mix for the Red Sox.

“The changeup was a lot better this time through,” Whitlock told reporters on Thursday night, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “We made some adjustments in the bullpen this week. I was really happy with the changeup. Really happy with the cutter.”

As several Red Sox starters have since the addition of pitching coach Andrew Bailey, Whitlock’s improved pitch mix allows him to rediscover the potential that sparked Boston throughout the 2021 season.

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“It was one of those things where if I didn’t have my changeup that day, I was getting absolutely hammered because my breaking ball was not competitive,” Whitlock explained. “I think now with adding the cutter, the gyro-slider, the bigger sweeper and everything like that, it helps things. If one thing’s not working, I have other tools.”

Whitlock gave the Red Sox a chance to win before the bullpen allowed eight runs in a 9-4 extra-innings loss. Boston’s starters posted a 1.17 ERA while getting swept in the three-game series, leaving opportunities on the field after capable innings from the rotation.

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“It’s unfortunate,” Whitlock offered. “We’re gonna come back tomorrow and try to play better tomorrow. Just trying to focus on going 1-0 every day.”

The Red Sox look to convert the recent solid starts into wins as the Los Angeles Angels come to town for a weekend series. Boston took two out of three in Anaheim last week. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. ET. You can catch the game, plus over an hour of pregame coverage, on NESN.

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Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images