The Boston Red Sox boast the best record in Major League Baseball at the All Star break, as Baseball Reference shows. In fact, with a 68-30 mark, the Red Sox could play only.500 baseball for the remainder of the season and they would still win an even 100 games. With a win-loss record that strong, it should be no surprise that Boston has also boasted one of baseball’s best pitching staffs, with the fifth-best team ERA in the Majors at 3.56, third-best in the AL.
The Red Sox are also second to the Houston Astros in strikeouts with 955. But using advanced stats from Baseball Reference, the Red Sox hurlers look even better. In terms of “wins above average by position,” the Red Sox pitching staff as a whole has been worth a Major League leading 12.7 wins more than an average pitching staff.
On first glance, it would appear that the Red Sox have no reason to be in the market for a starting pitcher at all. But a recent rash of injuries may have changed the priorities for the team’s president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski. In particular, an ankle injury to lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, in which the 25-year-old Venezuelan did “serious damage” to his ankle while covering first base in last Saturday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, according to The Sporting News, has thrown the back end of the Boston rotation into chaos.
In Rodriguez, the Red Sox lose — at least for the near future — a reliable lefty with an 11-3 record and 3.44 ERA who has given Boston just under six innings per start out of the fourth spot in a rotation, per BR, behind All-Star starter Chris Sale, former Cy Young winner David Price, and sinker ball specialist Rick Porcello, the American League 2016 Cy Young winner.
“That brings us to Matt Harvey,” wrote WEEI Red Sox correspondent Rob Bradford on the radio station’s site Wednesday.
Bradford says that the Red Sox may be in the market for the 29-year-old former New York Mets ace whose career seemed in permanent decline with the Mets this year — until New York dealt the “Dark Knight” to the Cincinnati Reds on May 8, per BR.
Harvey — who would be a righthander in a Red Sox rotation that can feature as many as four southpaws, including Sale, Price, Rodriguez, spot starter Brian Johnson, and now-injured veteran Drew Pomeranz — has turned his season and perhaps career around, with a 5-3 record and solid 3.64 ERA since coming to Cincinnati. Harvey has now won four of his last five starts, allowing more than two runs only once in that span, as BR game logs show. He has not allowed a home run in his last six starts, covering 34 innings.
“We know he isn’t going to shy away from the big stage. Not only did Harvey offer some memorable postseason moments, but he has only allowed three runs in 21 2/3 innings against the Yankees,” wrote Bradford. “If the price is right (and that’s a big ‘if’) Harvey just might be the right guy at the right time.”