Starting Pitching 2019

BaseballJones

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I look on paper and I see an outstanding rotation. These first three games doesn't change that overall outlook for me, but man what a craptastic start for the Sox' starting pitchers.

Sale: 3.0 ip, 6 h, 7 r, 7 er, 2 bb, 4 k, 3 hr
Eovaldi: 5.0 ip, 8 h, 6 r, 6 er, 2 bb, 3 k, 3 hr
ERod: 4.1 ip, 8 h, 6 r, 6 er, 3 bb, 5 k, 1 hr

TOT: 12.1 ip, 22 h, 21 r, 21 er, 7 bb, 12 k, 7 hr, 15.32 era, 2.35 whip, 8.8 k/9

I mean, holy crap. Today Porcello gets his chance, and then it's on to Oakland.

I still see the rotation as a strength though a run like this obviously gets me thinking about the worrisome aspects of the rotation. Namely:

- Is there something wrong with Sale?
- Eovaldi was dominant in the playoffs last year but he does have a 4.20 career era and has never quite lived up to the quality of stuff he has. So is he a bit of a mirage?
- Is ERod actually ready to harness all that talent, or is he going to be forever one of those tantalizing, frustrating kind of guys?
- Which Porcello shows up this year? Last 6 years' worth of era+ numbers: 96, 113, 87, 142, 98, 102. Is this a year where he goes down?
- Is Price, coming off his incredible playoff run, back to being DAVID PRICE? A guy who puts up an era in the 2's? Or is the best we're going to get from him a mid-3's era (which wouldn't be bad...just would like it to be lower)?

This thread isn't just about when these guys suck, it's to praise them when it's going well also. We just haven't seen it yet through the first three games. I'm sure they'll come around and we'll have plenty to be happy about. Today would be a good time to start.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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Is ERod actually ready to harness all that talent, or is he going to be forever one of those tantalizing, frustrating kind of guys?
He is what he is; a number 5 who will have some good outings but ultimately is capped by his inefficiency.

A guy who puts up an era in the 2's?
I think that's asking a bit much at this point, but I think expecting a top 15 in the AL performance isn't out of the question. If Sale is hurt or adjusting to life with diminished velocity then many an egg will be placed in Mr. Price's basket.

The early trend giving up the long ball is a bit dicey. Not sure if it's their spring training philosophy or maybe their scouting of the new look Mariners wasn't great, but they need to do a better job of limiting the long ball headed into Oakland.
 

bosockboy

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Clearly they didn’t quite have enough of a running start in Spring Training, and I’d think the plan had a lot to do with the staff being pushed through the end of October and managing them with the likelihood of another October ahead of them. Also opened with a team hitting the crap out of the ball. Not too concerned.
 
Jul 21, 2005
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There's always a World Series hangover due to the shortened off season and an easier Spring training.

I'm sure Sale's velocity was lower in April last season then picked up through May.

Nothing to see here.
 

DirtyWater90

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There's always a World Series hangover due to the shortened off season and an easier Spring training.

I'm sure Sale's velocity was lower in April last season then picked up through May.

Nothing to see here.
It absolutely was. In fact Sale had a start in mid April against the Orioles at Fenway where his average fastball velocity was exactly 90 mph and it was only that high because the pitch tracker incorrectly classified many fastballs as changeups.

Obviously there’s concern about Sale because he had lower velocity at the end of last season after coming back from the injury but if you look at his career, his velocity is kind of all over the place.

 

iddoc

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Was that April start the game with historically miserable conditions, 34 degrees and light rain? Still, I agree with the larger point.
 

DirtyWater90

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Was that April start the game with historically miserable conditions, 34 degrees and light rain? Still, I agree with the larger point.
Yeah, it was. I remember Chris describing it as the most miserable he’s been on a baseball field.
 

YTF

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Clearly they didn’t quite have enough of a running start in Spring Training, and I’d think the plan had a lot to do with the staff being pushed through the end of October and managing them with the likelihood of another October ahead of them. Also opened with a team hitting the crap out of the ball. Not too concerned.
Yes this is a whole new dynamic we're seeing here in how Cora limited his starters in spring training. I guess I understand the thinking in theory, but so far these guys haven't offered much in the way of showing that they are ready for the regular season. If the first two weeks of the season play out like extended spring training for the starters the Sox may not have to worry about October.
 

gedman211

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Yes this is a whole new dynamic we're seeing here in how Cora limited his starters in spring training. I guess I understand the thinking in theory, but so far these guys haven't offered much in the way of showing that they are ready for the regular season. If the first two weeks of the season play out like extended spring training for the starters the Sox may not have to worry about October.
What'd they have 3 spring starts each? It's usually more, no?
 
Jul 21, 2005
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It absolutely was. In fact Sale had a start in mid April against the Orioles at Fenway where his average fastball velocity was exactly 90 mph and it was only that high because the pitch tracker incorrectly classified many fastballs as changeups.

Obviously there’s concern about Sale because he had lower velocity at the end of last season after coming back from the injury but if you look at his career, his velocity is kind of all over the place.



We rode the starters hard in October, we're clearly periodising them more slowly than usual, essentially the opportunity cost of winning it all.

They're a week or 2 behind, not ideal but they'll be back to peak for in a few weeks.

It will be tense regarding Sale till we see if it's just a slow start or if there is something more.
 
Jul 5, 2018
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We rode the starters hard in October, we're clearly periodising them more slowly than usual, essentially the opportunity cost of winning it all.

They're a week or 2 behind, not ideal but they'll be back to peak for in a few weeks.

It will be tense regarding Sale till we see if it's just a slow start or if there is something more.
I've been an MLB fan for a long time and I've never heard of not having pitchers ready for the start of the season. Can you provide a link to any coach or manager in the history of baseball that claimed they were willing for their pitchers to get shelled the first 1-2 weeks of the season and give away games? The Sox have been favored every game so it's news to the oddsmakers.
 

DeadlySplitter

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if it's really just not prepared enough out of ST, then giving up a couple games now is worth it later.
 
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Expect a serious regression to the mean going forward with the starting staff. This is still one of the best rotations in baseball. The bullpen actually looks pretty good after this series.
 

patoaflac

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You know that Cora has 100% veto power on something major like going super light on SP ST innings. So, the responsibility, or blame is his.
Can’t it be Patriots way? Start slowly and finish strong. Season is terribly long and now the post-season is also excruciating.
 

Plympton91

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We rode the starters hard in October, we're clearly periodising them more slowly than usual, essentially the opportunity cost of winning it all.

They're a week or 2 behind, not ideal but they'll be back to peak for in a few weeks.

It will be tense regarding Sale till we see if it's just a slow start or if there is something more.
I don’t think this is a bad decision per se but maybe have a little quicker hook then? Of course, everyone thought the bullpen would suck too...

Maybe it’s been a blessing in disguise for the pen to not have to pitch a high leverage inning, except for the 9th in the win, and get their confidence that way.
 

flymrfreakjar

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I think they thought with the limited spring training, that they might be mediocre/below-average, not absolute garbage. Probably felt the offense could carry them through it, and they nearly did — had the SP been merely crappy, they probably take 3/4.
 

chawson

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Good news is that with the Orioles taking two out of three in New York, the Sox may even be a net plus over the Yanks this weekend.
 

DeadlySplitter

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the only thing you don't want is to get into a 10 game hole in the division. The Yankees were a really good team last year, but they got into a 10 game hole in early August and that was it. we won the division by 8 games in the end - they played to a slightly better record than us in the last two months, and both teams met tied at like 25-10 in May.

so getting a reprieve on this weekend in that way is absolutely a silver lining. we're also getting the longest trip of the season, with no of days, over with early. you think Yankee fans are happy a home series against the O's - on paper the best chance to sweep a series, period - went 1-2?
 

Al Zarilla

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Can’t it be Patriots way? Start slowly and finish strong. Season is terribly long and now the post-season is also excruciating.
Sure. I was just saying LeVangie shouldn’t be in any hot water because Cora is the boss.

To your point about the Patriots, I think some writer asked Belichick last year if he was taking it easy or treating early season games like extended preseason games, and he said they really do try to win all games. Wink wink?
 

Adrian's Dome

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the only thing you don't want is to get into a 10 game hole in the division. The Yankees were a really good team last year, but they got into a 10 game hole in early August and that was it. we won the division by 8 games in the end - they played to a slightly better record than us in the last two months, and both teams met tied at like 25-10 in May.

so getting a reprieve on this weekend in that way is absolutely a silver lining. we're also getting the longest trip of the season, with no of days, over with early. you think Yankee fans are happy a home series against the O's - on paper the best chance to sweep a series, period - went 1-2?
It's baseball. Bad baseball teams beat great baseball teams, often. Great teams put up absolute stinkers over a series, often. Teams win games they should have no business winning, and lose games they have no business losing. Small sample sizes don't matter.

Let's get three or four turns through the rotation before we start making any real judgements. I somehow doubt the team as a whole is going to maintain a 10+ ERA from the starters.
 

BaseballJones

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I guess the positive take away from this opening weekend was that the bullpen seemed fine and the offense did really well. So once the starting pitching starts pitching like normal, this team should start kicking ass.
 

joe dokes

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I've been an MLB fan for a long time and I've never heard of not having pitchers ready for the start of the season. Can you provide a link to any coach or manager in the history of baseball that claimed they were willing for their pitchers to get shelled the first 1-2 weeks of the season and give away games? The Sox have been favored every game so it's news to the oddsmakers.
Has the Red Sox manager made such a claim? Put another way....do you think he thought all 4 of the Sox starters would get shelled?

I don’t understand this way of thinking. A loss in March exactly equals a loss in September.
It does. But working backwards here, I'd guess the team's way of looking at it is that a loss in March, attributable to the light ST workload, makes it more likely that they'll win more games later than they would have without a light ST load.
 
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Jul 21, 2005
8
Scotland
I don’t think this is a bad decision per se but maybe have a little quicker hook then? Of course, everyone thought the bullpen would suck too...

Maybe it’s been a blessing in disguise for the pen to not have to pitch a high leverage inning, except for the 9th in the win, and get their confidence that way.
First point, is a quicker hook the best long term solution if the starters are needing the work as part of their overall early development? I want to win every but can understand if AC wants to follow a path.

Second point re the pen, it has definitely been a good start for them, can you imagine the hyperbole if the shoe was on the other foot?

Things will level out soon.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Yes this is a whole new dynamic we're seeing here in how Cora limited his starters in spring training. I guess I understand the thinking in theory, but so far these guys haven't offered much in the way of showing that they are ready for the regular season. If the first two weeks of the season play out like extended spring training for the starters the Sox may not have to worry about October.
Not worry about October? Right now Fangraphs projects the Rays and the Twins to be fighting for the last wild card spot at 86-ish wins, so I'm struggling to see how this team is going to win 20+ fewer games than last year without a catastrophic injury or three.

I will also note that the 3 teams currently ahead of the Sox in playoff odds on Fangraphs (Sox are at 84.7%, which is probably the likelihood injury) are 1-3, 1-2, and 1-2.
 
Jul 5, 2018
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Has the Red Sox manager made such a claim? Put another way....do you think he thought all 4 of the Sox starters would get shelled?


It does. But working backwards here, I'd guess the team's way of looking at it is that a loss in March, attributable to the light ST workload, makes it more likely that they'll win more games later than they would have without a light ST load.
 
Jul 5, 2018
143
Has the Red Sox manager made such a claim? Put another way....do you think he thought all 4 of the Sox starters would get shelled?


It does. But working backwards here, I'd guess the team's way of looking at it is that a loss in March, attributable to the light ST workload, makes it more likely that they'll win more games later than they would have without a light ST load.
The previous poster claimed that because the Sox played last October the starters were held back in spring training and are 2 weeks behind. It would go against the integrity of the sport not to be 100% ready for the start of the season. The games count and it might come down down to a game or two as to whether the Sox win the division or become a wild card.
 

patoaflac

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Sure. I was just saying LeVangie shouldn’t be in any hot water because Cora is the boss.

To your point about the Patriots, I think some writer asked Belichick last year if he was taking it easy or treating early season games like extended preseason games, and he said they really do try to win all games. Wink wink?
That quote was the one I remembered.
Of course you want to win everygame in March or in September, but in a marathon you need to know how to administrate yourself, resist the race and of course win it.
 

Harry Hooper

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The games count, but losing a starter for 3 weeks with tendonitis (or something worse) from more aggressive ST prep would hurt the cause more.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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The previous poster claimed that because the Sox played last October the starters were held back in spring training and are 2 weeks behind. It would go against the integrity of the sport not to be 100% ready for the start of the season. The games count and it might come down down to a game or two as to whether the Sox win the division or become a wild card.
We're talking about a sport where it's okay to sit prospects for 3-4 weeks at the start of the season to manipulate service time at the expense of arguably having a better player in the line up from day 1 of the season. And a sport where they expand the rosters by 60% in the final month of the season so teams can call up scrubs to play out the string when out of contention (or rest starters for the playoffs if they qualify). I'm not sure slow-rolling a few pitchers really stands up to the "against the integrity of the sport" standard.

Besides which, what is the definition of "100% ready for the start of the season"? Is there a quota for spring training work that should be met? A pitch quota for one's first start of the regular season that proves one is 100% ready?

Pretty sure they went with the same plan last spring...lighter spring training work, lighter April workload...and it worked out pretty well. Just because the first weekend didn't go well doesn't make the plan a poor one.
 

joe dokes

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The previous poster claimed that because the Sox played last October the starters were held back in spring training and are 2 weeks behind. It would go against the integrity of the sport not to be 100% ready for the start of the season. The games count and it might come down down to a game or two as to whether the Sox win the division or become a wild card.

You are the one who used the term "willing to get shelled." Because I assume that Cora isn't trying to lose on purpose, I would guess that they were figuring that "being behind" would manifest itself in not going deep into games, rather than shitting the bed. But I don't know. Maybe Cora has several Seattle hitters on his fantasy team and things are working out *exactly* like he planned.

It could come down to a game or 2. The games late in the season also count. Is it more "integrity-consistent" to have the pitchers who pitched the hard extra month in October go full bore early to win a few in April and then lose a bunch of games or be unavailable down the stretch? Or is is better to risk winning a game or three less in April, as a way to win a game or 5 more in September by having a strong Sale and Price instead of Johnson and Velazquez.

The assumption the team is making is that the toll of October will have to be paid sometime, and the downside of paying it now will be outweighed by the future benefit.

But again, I doubt the teams toll-paying strategy was premised on every starter giving up 6 runs or more in 5 innings or less.
 
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YTF

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Not worry about October? Right now Fangraphs projects the Rays and the Twins to be fighting for the last wild card spot at 86-ish wins, so I'm struggling to see how this team is going to win 20+ fewer games than last year without a catastrophic injury or three.

I will also note that the 3 teams currently ahead of the Sox in playoff odds on Fangraphs (Sox are at 84.7%, which is probably the likelihood injury) are 1-3, 1-2, and 1-2.
They don't have to be 20 wins worse. IMO, winning the division is a much better position to be in than being forced into a one game play in and I'm guessing the MFY agree. A team doesn't always have the luxury of lining up their ace or resting players coming down the stretch. Oakland won 97 games last year and were one and done in post season. That's a tough spot to be in. Neither you, I nor fangraphs can foresee any catastrophic injuries. I'll concede that it is a very SSS, but through the first four games the starters have been dreadful. It's hard to say if Cora's slow approach with them heading in to the regular season is to blame, but there is no denying that they've been shit. I'm also wondering how Fangraphs would have projected the Sox first four games of the year vs Seattle.
 

TheoShmeo

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We're talking about a sport where it's okay to sit prospects for 3-4 weeks at the start of the season to manipulate service time at the expense of arguably having a better player in the line up from day 1 of the season. And a sport where they expand the rosters by 60% in the final month of the season so teams can call up scrubs to play out the string when out of contention (or rest starters for the playoffs if they qualify). I'm not sure slow-rolling a few pitchers really stands up to the "against the integrity of the sport".
The rules have been modified with respect to roster expansion as follows:

Elimination of 40-man active roster limit in September. From September 1st through the end of the championship season, all Clubs must carry 28 players on the active roster.
 

geoduck no quahog

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Games in April do not count as much as games in August. An imperfect analogy would be that a field goal in the first quarter is just as important as one with 4 minutes left in the 4th, because they both represent 2 points.

Baseball seasons have as much context as football or any other sport and to ignore context is a mistake. Taken to an extreme, one could say that Sale should be prepared to come in to relieve for game #3 of the season, since that victory is "just as important" as a wild card play-in victory. No one seems to dispute the saying about dividing the season into thirds - meaning you don't panic in April and May...but you find out what the strengths and weaknesses are. No one seems to dispute that playing at 100% the first week of baseball is worth risking injury...or even that the first few weeks of the season are for finding out that a given pitcher may need to work on a given pitch.

Claiming that every game is of equal importance in a sport that plays 162 games over 6 months is pure exaggeration based solely on the math that says every victory, every loss, is of equal importance. That argument contains no subtlety at all.

...so you can't then say that a 12 game winning streak to start the season is better than one in July, despite how good it makes one feel to see a 7 game lead 15% into the season.

Mostly, I'm disputing the contention that the first couple of weeks after spring training are as critical as competition in September. Or, we could simply hand the Mariners the pennant and save some time.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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The Globe shows Price tonight, then Sale tomorrow. Are they backing off the 6 starters first time thru plan? Perhaps due to the lack of innings from the SP?

Not like the Globe should have sources.....
 

pokey_reese

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The distinction here is that a win in April is worth exactly the same amount as a win in September, however, we don't know the value of a particular win very clearly until the end of the year. A single additional win isn't worth very much if it is the difference between being 62-100 vs 63-99, but if you are one win away from the wild card slot with a week to go, then a win is worth a great deal. When you got the win doesn't affect it's value, we just don't have the information currently on what a win is going to end up being worth, so the cautious play is to not risk the pitcher's health/effectiveness down the road to book a win now.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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The Globe shows Price tonight, then Sale tomorrow. Are they backing off the 6 starters first time thru plan? Perhaps due to the lack of innings from the SP?

Not like the Globe should have sources.....
Could be a re-calibration considering that Johnson was slated to be the #6 and he's already pitched three times. Maybe he goes in Arizona during the second time through the rotation? That would accomplish the same thing as originally planned.
 

nvalvo

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A win is a win is a win is a win. And field goals are 3 points.
(I think he means basketball, where "field goals" are all baskets except free throws.)

I just wanted to point out how chill everyone is in this thread about the team's bad start, an attitude of which I highly approve.

We just won a World Series. Part of the reason it's so hard to repeat in this sport is that going deep in October takes so much out of a pitching staff. The team is trying to manage that fatigue, and there will be false steps and hiccups along the way. It's a long season, and I'm confident that as everyone gets stretched out and through their dead arms we'll see better performance from the rotation.
 

geoduck no quahog

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The distinction here is that a win in April is worth exactly the same amount as a win in September, however, we don't know the value of a particular win very clearly until the end of the year. A single additional win isn't worth very much if it is the difference between being 62-100 vs 63-99, but if you are one win away from the wild card slot with a week to go, then a win is worth a great deal. When you got the win doesn't affect it's value, we just don't have the information currently on what a win is going to end up being worth, so the cautious play is to not risk the pitcher's health/effectiveness down the road to book a win now.
Yes.

Let me try another analogy. At the end of a complex construction project that's behind schedule, human nature is to say something like, "If only we'd commenced piling design a week earlier we would have completed on time..."

The problem is that at the beginning of any project there's a huge amount (hundreds) of different paths that the presumed "critical" path could take - and you have years to adjust sequences and man-hours to create new paths towards an on-time completion. Towards the end of a project, those paths have been whittled to one or two, and every day spent doing something takes on much greater importance...because options to make up time are so few (unlike at commencement).

So, a baseball season in April and May includes hundreds of ways for a team to win the division, but as the magic number starts getting into range, every defeat/victory takes on more importance because the path to the division gets narrower. Yes, you could say one more victory in April could have made the late path easier...but that's just saying something because it seems logical, as if the critical path of each victory is identical. Yes, it's better to start strong and finish strong - but that's kind of elemental.
 
Jul 5, 2018
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Yes.

Let me try another analogy. At the end of a complex construction project that's behind schedule, human nature is to say something like, "If only we'd commenced piling design a week earlier we would have completed on time..."

The problem is that at the beginning of any project there's a huge amount (hundreds) of different paths that the presumed "critical" path could take - and you have years to adjust sequences and man-hours to create new paths towards an on-time completion. Towards the end of a project, those paths have been whittled to one or two, and every day spent doing something takes on much greater importance...because options to make up time are so few (unlike at commencement).

So, a baseball season in April and May includes hundreds of ways for a team to win the division, but as the magic number starts getting into range, every defeat/victory takes on more importance because the path to the division gets narrower. Yes, you could say one more victory in April could have made the late path easier...but that's just saying something because it seems logical, as if the critical path of each victory is identical. Yes, it's better to start strong and finish strong - but that's kind of elemental.
I checked on ESPN team pitching stats for 2018 and the average ERA for the entire MLB was 4.14 for April and 4.15 in September so it would seem teams take the beginning of the season seriously.

BTW, I will be driving down to Oakland with my son to see if Price can stop the carnage.
 

BaseballJones

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Maybe think of it like leverage. A single run in the bottom of the first is worth the exact same, technically, as allowing a run in the bottom of the ninth. Each is worth a single run - no more, no less. But if you are tied heading into the bottom of the first and give up that run to go down 1-0, you've got 8 more innings to make that up. If you're tied going into the bottom of the ninth and give up that run, the game is over. Each run is worth the exact same - one run - but clearly, not all runs are equal. Or not all contexts in which that run is scored are of equal importance.

A three game losing streak in the first week of the season is something you have tons of time to make up (doesn't mean you WILL...just that there's time). A three game losing streak the last weekend of the season...well...there's no time to make that up.

Three losses are technically three losses, no matter when they happen, but there's a reason why games late in the year are more "important", and why a manager will pull out all the stops to win them then, when he won't in April.
 

YTF

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Yes games late in the season can be framed as "more important" in that there aren't many left and you can see exactly where you are concerning the hunt for the playoffs. But each game won or lost counts equally.
 

Sampo Gida

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Last year we kind of got spoiled with that insane start. Took 20 games to lose 3. Of course the schedule was pretty favorable last year and this year we may have run into Seattle at the wrong time seemingly energized by sushi and geishas

All that matters is the record after 162, it doesn't matter how you get there so long as you come out on top

The 100 million dollar rotation needs a bit more time to work out the kinks. The BP looked good. Its all SSS at this point.
 

chrisfont9

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Fully agree. The point was what the MFY do in March does matter to a degree, too.
I don't think they think this way. I'm sure they are not locking in on the Yankees as the key opponent and I'm just about as sure they aren't really thinking at all about opponents and standings for a good month or two, unless they go on a long slide. Of course at some point they do lock in on "key series" and line up the pitching, but we are a ways off from that.