Red Sox 9-9 on season, but they’ll need pitching to improve

The Red Sox are off to a decent start, but they’ll need the pitching staff to step up. (Courtesy / FLICKR)

The Red Sox are off to a decent start, but they’ll need the pitching staff to step up. (Courtesy / FLICKR)

Benson Furber, Crier Staff

Just eighteen games into the Major League Baseball 2023 Regular Season, the Boston Red Sox have already begun to show that they have the potential to be better than what the media has been claiming over the past few months.

People on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and every single social media outlet are bashing the Sox, saying they are a last-place team and projected to lose 100 games this year. Sure, losing shortstop Xander Bogaerts to the San Diego Padres was a huge loss, but don’t count the Sox out so soon. 

Looking at the offense, the Sox deserve nothing but praise. So far at the start of this season, Red Sox hitters are ranking 12th in total offense, far better than what the rest of the league expected. 

One superstar that has shined for the Red Sox was Adam Duvall, until he fractured his wrist in Detroit in the 3rd series of the year, which will keep him out for a month or two. While being a cornerstone to the defense, Duvall was absolutely mashing at the plate. 

Through the short beginning of the season, Duvall is hitting .588, with two home runs. He is now the only player in Red Sox history to record 6 extra-base hits in their first 3 games in a Boston uniform. After his injury, lineup scrambles have slowed the bats, especially with Yu Chang seeing more time in the field. Chang is currently batting an abysmal .077 on the year.

Another notable addition to the Sox offense is Masataka Yoshida. The rookie from Japan is hitting in the four hole, after signing from the international pool this offseason, after a stellar career in Japan. Hitting his first home run against the Pirates, it appears the best is yet to come as he adjusts to Major League pitching. 

Alex Verdugo, Justin Turner, Rafael Devers, and Kike Hernandez have also had a strong start at the plate, which is exceptionally encouraging after our bats failed us last year.

However, the Red Sox pitching is absolutely atrocious. There is no praise that should be given to their starting pitchers. With a team ERA of 4.92, earning the rank of 21st. Chris Sale, Tanner Houck, Corey Kluber, and Kutter Crawford have simply failed to get hitters out. Missing spots left and right, the Sox pitching staff just cannot keep the baseball in the yard. 

The Red Sox fielding isn’t any better than their pitching. The Sox rank 28th in fielding percentage and tied for the most errors made in the league with 14. If the sub-par pitching and fielding continue, the Sox will have a tough time finding success.  

The Sox bullpen has been the only aspect of their pitching that has performed decently. They’ve had some very solid games, but they’ve also had some poor performances. However, in the early stages of the season, the bullpen has pleasantly surprised many Sox fans who believed that the pen was going to be a major weak point.

The Sox defense is bound to improve. With the lineup they have going now, which will only get better when Trevor Story comes off the 60 day Injured List, the Sox can be a legitimate contender on the offensive and defensive sides of the baseball. Manager Alex Cora certainly has options with his lineups. 

Overall, the Red Sox NEED Garret Whitlock back. While Whitlock has been solid coming out of the bullpen, he could add some much needed depth to the starting rotation. Unless their pitching gets better, this is going to be a long season for the Sox to say the least.  

All Sox fans are hoping to get the 2018 Chris Sale back as he gets healthier. The Sox pitching staff just needs to improve — plain and simple.

While the Red Sox look good now, their division is stacked with powerhouses like New York and Toronto, paired with solid lineups on the Orioles and the Rays. The AL East is not going to be giving away free games. 

There is certainly going to be a fierce competition to see who gets to play in October. Hopefully the Sox can pull themselves together and their pitching can keep them in the running.