The Boston Red Sox are looking like a team that can return to the playoffs for the first time since winning the 2014 World Series. But in order for the Red Sox to accomplish their goals, the Sox will need to improve their pitching staff.
Boston is the No. 1 offensive team in the majors. However, the Red Sox rank in the middle of the league in most pitching categories. The Sox rank 23rd in runs given up per game (4.7), 17th in ERA (4.30), 12th in quality starts (48), 14th in WHIP (1.32) and 13th in batting average against (.253).
Boston's starting rotation has been the Sox's biggest bugaboo. The Red Sox are set atop of their rotation with David Price, Steven Wright and Rick Porcello, though Price has not been his normal dominating self this season. The Sox have used six different pitchers in the team's fourth and fifth spots.
Price, who has a career ERA of 3.20, is 9-7 with a 4.36 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 130 innings of work. The 30-year-old ranks third in the AL with 130 strikeouts, but he is also allowing opposing hitters to bat .262 off him.
Wright and Porcello have been pleasant surprises. Wright (12-2, 3.47 ERA and three complete games) is having a career campaign, while Porcello has bounced back from a bad 2015 campaign, posting a 12-2 record to go along with a 3.47 ERA. Price, Wright and Porcello have accounted for 33 of the 41 victories that the team's starters have earned.
Eduardo Rodriguez and recently acquired Drew Pomeranz are currently the Red Sox fourth and fifth starters. Rodriguez, 23, is 2-4 with a 6.70 ERA along with a 1.54 WHIP with a .293 batting average against. Pomeranz, who was acquired from San Diego, was hammered by the San Francisco Giants on July 20 in his Red Sox debut. The 27-year-old left-hander surrendered five runs on eight hits in three innings of work. He is 8-7 with a 2.83 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP on the season.
Clay Buchholz has to be the biggest disappointment of the Sox pitchers. The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-9 with a 5.84 ERA in 19 games, including 13 starts – posting a 2-8 record with a 6.31 ERA. He made his first relief appearance on July 21 in a 13-2 win over Minnesota since making his last start July 2.
With the return of reliever Junichi Tazawa from the disabled list on Friday and Joe Kelly also about set to return, Rob Bradford of WEEI reported that Buchholz's days with the Red Sox may be numbered.