Starting Pitching 2019

donutogre

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I'm starting to feel like the whole "the way the Sox used the starters in the postseason ruined them in 2019" narrative is a bit hyperbolic.

Obviously, all the pitchers pitched more last season than usual -- that's just the nature of going deep into the postseason. But, I don't think the way they were used contributed particularly to the issues they're having now.

Here's the postseason work for Sale, Porcello, Price, and Eovaldi:

Sale:
6 1/3 ALDS (1 inning relief)
4 ALCS
5 WS (1 inning relief)

Porcello:
5 2/3 ALDS (2/3 in relief)
5 ALCS (1 in relief)
4 2/3 WS

Price:
1 2/3 ALDS (1 start)
10 2/3 ALCS (2 starts)
13 2/3 WS (2/3 in relief)

Eovaldi:
7 ALDS
7 1/3 ALCS (1 1/3 relief)
8 WS (all in relief)

Besides Eovaldi, no one pitched more than an extra inning of relief in any given series. Eovaldi's usage in the WS is obviously very unusual, and perhaps rather stressful. Him aside, I don't feel like doing a little extra relief in the postseason is really to blame here. Yes, they had extra innings and thus took things slower this preseason, and the results of all that have been super ugly. I don't think it would be materially different if they hadn't picked up those extra innings, though.

Just one man's opinion, but at least we can see what they all did last October here for some context.
 

Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat

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I'm starting to feel like the whole "the way the Sox used the starters in the postseason ruined them in 2019" narrative is a bit hyperbolic.

Obviously, all the pitchers pitched more last season than usual -- that's just the nature of going deep into the postseason. But, I don't think the way they were used contributed particularly to the issues they're having now.

Here's the postseason work for Sale, Porcello, Price, and Eovaldi:

Sale:
6 1/3 ALDS (1 inning relief)
4 ALCS
5 WS (1 inning relief)

Porcello:
5 2/3 ALDS (2/3 in relief)
5 ALCS (1 in relief)
4 2/3 WS

Price:
1 2/3 ALDS (1 start)
10 2/3 ALCS (2 starts)
13 2/3 WS (2/3 in relief)

Eovaldi:
7 ALDS
7 1/3 ALCS (1 1/3 relief)
8 WS (all in relief)

Besides Eovaldi, no one pitched more than an extra inning of relief in any given series. Eovaldi's usage in the WS is obviously very unusual, and perhaps rather stressful. Him aside, I don't feel like doing a little extra relief in the postseason is really to blame here. Yes, they had extra innings and thus took things slower this preseason, and the results of all that have been super ugly. I don't think it would be materially different if they hadn't picked up those extra innings, though.

Just one man's opinion, but at least we can see what they all did last October here for some context.
Bingo.

Pitching high leverage innings for an extra month is taxing. Pitching a few extra innings of relief during that month isn't materially more taxing.
 

BaseballJones

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Bingo.

Pitching high leverage innings for an extra month is taxing. Pitching a few extra innings of relief during that month isn't materially more taxing.
And let’s face it. That was more than five months ago. I cannot imagine a few more high leverage innings five months ago has any impact on what’s happening now.

Maybe a full month of extra innings is, but if that’s so, I’ll happily trade last year’s finish for this year’s start.
 

OurF'ingCity

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I'm starting to feel like the whole "the way the Sox used the starters in the postseason ruined them in 2019" narrative is a bit hyperbolic.

Obviously, all the pitchers pitched more last season than usual -- that's just the nature of going deep into the postseason. But, I don't think the way they were used contributed particularly to the issues they're having now.

Here's the postseason work for Sale, Porcello, Price, and Eovaldi:

Sale:
6 1/3 ALDS (1 inning relief)
4 ALCS
5 WS (1 inning relief)

Porcello:
5 2/3 ALDS (2/3 in relief)
5 ALCS (1 in relief)
4 2/3 WS

Price:
1 2/3 ALDS (1 start)
10 2/3 ALCS (2 starts)
13 2/3 WS (2/3 in relief)

Eovaldi:
7 ALDS
7 1/3 ALCS (1 1/3 relief)
8 WS (all in relief)

Besides Eovaldi, no one pitched more than an extra inning of relief in any given series. Eovaldi's usage in the WS is obviously very unusual, and perhaps rather stressful. Him aside, I don't feel like doing a little extra relief in the postseason is really to blame here. Yes, they had extra innings and thus took things slower this preseason, and the results of all that have been super ugly. I don't think it would be materially different if they hadn't picked up those extra innings, though.

Just one man's opinion, but at least we can see what they all did last October here for some context.
I actually agree. I think the issue is less how much they actually pitched in the postseason and more that their pitching in the postseason seems to have been part of the emphasis on babying the starters in Spring Training. But I admit I haven't really followed the details on how that strategy came about - maybe the Sox would have gone with the curtailed Spring Training for the starters regardless of the postseason.
 
Jul 5, 2018
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I actually agree. I think the issue is less how much they actually pitched in the postseason and more that their pitching in the postseason seems to have been part of the emphasis on babying the starters in Spring Training. But I admit I haven't really followed the details on how that strategy came about - maybe the Sox would have gone with the curtailed Spring Training for the starters regardless of the postseason.
The Dodgers' postseason was just as long and their starting pitchers' ERA is 3.05. The Sox should have done whatever the Dodgers did in ST.
 

rymflaherty

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We’re really going to blame it on being on the road?
When the the team started in two of the top 5 pitchers parks in baseball (according to 2018 park factors) against teams that, combined, were projected to be well below .500, according to Vegas?
 

RedOctober3829

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We’re really going to blame it on being on the road?
When the the team started in two of the top 5 pitchers parks in baseball (according to 2018 park factors) against teams that, combined, were projected to be well below .500, according to Vegas?
Which teams were predicted to be below .500? Oakland was a playoff team last year. Seattle is a good team. Arizona could finish under .500, but the other two teams are not bottom-feeders for sure.
 

geoduck no quahog

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Probably because it's the first 9 games of the year and is a clear sample size. Every team plays 9 games to start the season. And then they all play another 153. But for the first 9 games of THIS year, the Sox have had historically bad SP.

Why are you so offended by this?
I get ticked off at clever manipulations of stats. This includes things like "the month of...". What's the point of choosing the first and last day of a month (or a week) to judge performance? The guy who hits 10 homers from mid-July to mid-august gets less recognition than one who hits 6 in one calendar month?

All I'm saying is 9 games to start a season are 9 games. Period. This would suck just as much if it were 9 games in June.
 

Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat

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I get ticked off at clever manipulations of stats. This includes things like "the month of...". What's the point of choosing the first and last day of a month (or a week) to judge performance? The guy who hits 10 homers from mid-July to mid-august gets less recognition than one who hits 6 in one calendar month?

All I'm saying is 9 games to start a season are 9 games. Period. This would suck just as much if it were 9 games in June.
This isn't a clever manipulation of anything. If you took the middle 5 games and focused only on those, then it would be.
Plain and simple, it's just the only sample size that exists so far this season, small as it might be.
 

dynomite

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Which teams were predicted to be below .500? Oakland was a playoff team last year. Seattle is a good team. Arizona could finish under .500, but the other two teams are not bottom-feeders for sure.
To be fair only Oakland was expected to be a .500+ team. PECOTA had the Mariners at 75 wins going into the season, and they spent the off-season dumping their veterans (Cano, Diaz, Paxton, Cruz). It would be a little surprising if they won 82+ games.
 

johnmd20

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I get ticked off at clever manipulations of stats. This includes things like "the month of...". What's the point of choosing the first and last day of a month (or a week) to judge performance? The guy who hits 10 homers from mid-July to mid-august gets less recognition than one who hits 6 in one calendar month?

All I'm saying is 9 games to start a season are 9 games. Period. This would suck just as much if it were 9 games in June.
I think, because in this instance, those 9 games were the entire season's sample size. Nothing is being manipulated here. It's one of the worst SP starts in the history of baseball. That's not manipulation.
 

rhswanzey

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With the bullpen shutout today:

Starters 0-7 9.14 ERA
Bullpen 3-1 3.38 ERA (2.78 w/o Brian Johnson)
Yesterday, a player I like a lot as a fantasy keeper had a nice night, going 3 for 4 with a walk.

His batting average moved from .229 to .282 (.053) with one game. He had a .549 OPS entering play tonight.

I don't know - how worried do you think Colorado is about Nolan Arenado?


We’re really going to blame it on being on the road?
Am I the only person thrilled we have the big West Coast swing out of the way? These things are killer midseason. This team has now already played about 1/7 of its road games for the season. That's going to be a huge lift for the Sox once the season is farther along.

There are two more trips out west. The difficult one might be the second-to-last series of the season, as the team has to fly out of Tampa Bay to play three in Texas, before returning home for three against Baltimore to finish a run of 13 games in a row. However, this is during expanded roster month, so it should be easier on the pitching staff.

The other trip is an @SD, @COL, @LAA swing at the end of August. However, there are only eight total games with off days in between each of the series and a day off before and after the trip.

We're going to be very happy to have five off days and no back-to-back series to close out the final two weeks of August.

It's huge to have 11 in a row out west out of the way. Maybe this team's 17-1 stretch is more like 14-4 this year, and it just happens in July instead of April. They'll be fine.
 

keninten

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Yesterday, a player I like a lot as a fantasy keeper had a nice night, going 3 for 4 with a walk.

His batting average moved from .229 to .282 (.053) with one game. He had a .549 OPS entering play tonight.

I don't know - how worried do you think Colorado is about Nolan Arenado?




Am I the only person thrilled we have the big West Coast swing out of the way? These things are killer midseason. This team has now already played about 1/7 of its road games for the season. That's going to be a huge lift for the Sox once the season is farther along.

There are two more trips out west. The difficult one might be the second-to-last series of the season, as the team has to fly out of Tampa Bay to play three in Texas, before returning home for three against Baltimore to finish a run of 13 games in a row. However, this is during expanded roster month, so it should be easier on the pitching staff.

The other trip is an @SD, @COL, @LAA swing at the end of August. However, there are only eight total games with off days in between each of the series and a day off before and after the trip.

We're going to be very happy to have five off days and no back-to-back series to close out the final two weeks of August.

It's huge to have 11 in a row out west out of the way. Maybe this team's 17-1 stretch is more like 14-4 this year, and it just happens in July instead of April. They'll be fine.
Tampa to Arlington Texas is less than a 3 hour flight
 

joe dokes

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I think, because in this instance, those 9 games were the entire season's sample size. Nothing is being manipulated here. It's one of the worst SP starts in the history of baseball. That's not manipulation.
It is not manipulation. But it is pretty close to meaningless.
 

johnmd20

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It is not manipulation. But it is pretty close to meaningless.
A 2-8 start isn't meaningless. It's ridiculous to assert otherwise. That doesn't mean the season is over, but being 6 games below 500 after 10 games will have an impact of some kind on the rest of the season. Thus, it has meaning.
 

joe dokes

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A 2-8 start isn't meaningless. It's ridiculous to assert otherwise. That doesn't mean the season is over, but being 6 games below 500 after 10 games will have an impact of some kind on the rest of the season. Thus, it has meaning.
Nothing is truly meaningless. So, yes, it will have an impact of some kind. (I suppose it already has. We just dont know what it is.) But that the starting pitching "has the worst record since Venus de Milo toed the slab" or whatever the breathless chyron is chyroning is meaningless in terms of what to expect going forward. (Assuming no one is injured)
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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So they're heading home with a 3-8 record.... they shoulda/coulda won the previous night and taken 2/3 in Arizona and gone 4-7. Neither are good but a pretty brutal stretch of games to start the season.... IMO I would be happy if they had gone 5-6. Still not good.. .but I think a realistic expectation of that shitty road trip to start the season. I'm trying to stay positive on this and look at our record as only 2 games back of where I would expect them to be.

That said... yeah.... win/loss records mean shit if the pythag is horribly skewed towards losing an ass ton of games. Offense is pressing and looks depressed... starting pitching is just horrendous.

Aaaaaand... that said.... all that crap still just ends up counting as wins and losses- doesn't matter if they're blowouts or close calls. In my own personal expectations of the team, they're only 2 games behind.
 

bosockboy

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They are 0-11 without Moreland. He has won the 3 games for them so all things considered it could have been worse.

They have 24 of 36 at home now with 7 of the 12 road games against Baltimore and Chicago. They can dig out of this pretty quickly.
 

Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat

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They are 0-11 without Moreland. He has won the 3 games for them so all things considered it could have been worse.

They have 24 of 36 at home now with 7 of the 12 road games against Baltimore and Chicago. They can dig out of this pretty quickly.
Wait, so they lose yesterday's game 0-0 and they lose their second win by only winning 4-3 instead of 6-3. Moreland has been key, but we should tone down the hyperbole.
 

bosockboy

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Wait, so they lose yesterday's game 0-0 and they lose their second win by only winning 4-3 instead of 6-3. Moreland has been key, but we should tone down the hyperbole.
The Oakland game they were down 3-0 and he got the breakthrough hit they needed to tie it, sure that one is debatable I guess. Two game winning homers are fair to say he won for them.
 

DeadlySplitter

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good Speier article on the situation.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/redsox/2019/04/08/breakdown-breakdown-examining-red-sox-early-pitching-woes/xu4UCOY4EO3yo7YoTNIe1L/story.html

The Red Sox speak often of employing a vertical attack — pitches (usually fastballs) in and above the upper third of the strike zone, breaking stuff that lands in and below the lower third of the zone.
...
The early-season struggle doesn’t mean that the Red Sox’ chosen course was wrong, even if it does underscore that there was something of a gamble in the short term while seeking a long-term payoff.

“It’s easy to say now, of course, that it didn’t work out. But we weren’t trying to win spring training,” said pitching coach Dana LeVangie. “As a group, we’re not going to panic, because ultimately we have a goal in mind.

...

Moreover, as early as spring training, Cora detected teams countering the Red Sox’ vertical attack by doing a better job of laying off elevated pitches.

“Watching the Twins and also the Rays, it seems like they did establish their limits on top of the zone,” Cora said.
 

trs

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I was wondering recently how much sense it would make to intentionally shorten starting pitchers' seasons, especially since we're hoping that the season gets elongated by post-season play. From various reports it seems that much of our starting 5 could have used one or two more "doesn't count" starts, and so I wonder whether it would make sense to allow for that and have a few of those guys stay behind rather than punt our way to a 3-8 record.

I realize that the Red Sox certainly weren't actually "punting" and had planned on winning more than they have, but it just seems odd how the planned trajectory for totally readiness didn't end up at "Start #1." Granted, I haven't had a chance to really watch any games yet, and perhaps Sale, Price, Porcello et al are in fact ready to go and have just pitched poorly, but would the Red Sox be better off giving some of these guys more time?

Of course this would require 40-man roster construction to allow for a few AAA/prospect starters to be eligible and would almost certainly be not worth the effort in terms of service-time, 40-man construction, and it also assume that someone else on the 40-man is actually better suited to win games than 60% Sale. Lastly, I also understand that simulated games or throwing at Extended Spring Training batters in Sarasota or wherever is nothing like the real deal, and perhaps that's an essential piece to getting ready, and I really wouldn't know that (full disclosure: I've never pitched in the majors).

Anyway, probably a silly idea, but was just wondering whether skipping what seem to be "warm-up" starts for a few of these guys would benefit both the pitchers and the team.
 

BaseballJones

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The main starting pitchers (so...not counting Vazquez):

Price: 1-1, 3.79 era, 0.95 whip, 9.5 k/9, 0.5 bWAR
Sale: 0-4, 8.50 era, 1.56 whip, 7.0 k/9, -0.4 bWAR
Eovaldi: 0-0, 8.40 era, 1.87 whip, 6.0 k/9, -0.3 bWAR
Rodriguez: 1-2, 7.98 era, 1.71 whip, 9.2 k/9, -0.4 bWAR
Porcello: 0-3, 11.12 era, 3.00 whip, 7.9 k/9, -0.8 bWAR

TOT: 16 g, 78.0 ip, 97 h, 72 r, 66 er, 20 hr, 36 bb, 69 k, 7.62 era, 1.71 whip, 7.9 k/9, -1.4 bWAR

I mean, my god. Take Price out and the other four guys have gone:

59.0 ip, 82 h, 64 r, 58 er, 33 bb, 49 k, 8.85 era, 1.95 whip, 7.5 k/9
 

BaseballJones

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Just to make it clear how bad these guys have been, contrast their career numbers with this year's numbers so far. Career numbers are pre-2019...

Price
- Career: 3.25 era, 1.14 whip, 8.7 k/9
- 2019: 3.79 era, 0.95 whip, 9.5 k/9

(Ok so far, so good. But then......buckle up)

Sale
- Career: 2.89 era, 1.03 whip, 10.9 k/9
- 2019: 8.50 era, 1.56 whip, 7.0 k/9

Eovaldi
- Career: 4.16 era, 1.35 whip, 6.8 k/9
- 2019: 8.40 era, 1.87 whip, 6.0 k/9

Rodriguez
- Career: 4.12 era, 1.28 whip, 9.0 k/9
- 2019: 7.98 era, 1.71 whip, 9.2 k/9

Porcello
- Career: 4.26 era, 1.30 whip, 6.6 k/9
- 2019: 11.12 era, 3.00 whip, 7.9 k/9

Look at the spike in ERA and WHIP numbers for those last four. Holy moly. We're talking about SOLID major league pitchers, and ALL of them (Price excepted) are just inconceivably bad right now.
 

BaseballJones

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Porcello has a THREE WHIP? That is almost inconceivably bad.
22 hits, 12 walks in 11.1 innings pitched = 3.00 whip

He's giving up 17.5 hits and 9.5 walks per 9 innings so far.

And for his era...he's given up 5 unearned runs (so yes some of the damage done against him wasn't his fault, but he also didn't overcome those errors either). So he's given up 19 runs in 11.1 innings. In the three games he's pitched, opponents have scored 10, 15, and 9 runs (11.3 per game) - obviously the bullpen hasn't really helped either but still.

He couldn't really be worse if he tried.

Opponents are batting against him: .415/.515/.660/1.176. .463 babip

Interestingly, his line drive rate is the lowest it's been since 2016 (24%). His GB/FB ratio (.83) is the best it's been since 2015. But when teams put the ball in the air, it's going. HR rate of 14.3% by far the highest it's ever been. And the percentage of plate appearances where the ball is put in play is the lowest it's ever been for him (60%).

He's just giving up a ton of walks, and when people put the ball in play, it's going for hits. Some of this is bad luck - no MLB pitcher ends up the season with stats like this. But it doesn't change the fact that he's been unbelievably bad so far.
 
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Mueller's Twin Grannies

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The second and third column in the Eovaldi comparison is actually a cause for optimism because they're not too far off his career norms. Being taken deep with runners on base twice in one game is likely skewing the ERA a bit. He seems to be on the right track, but just needs to keep the ball in the yard.
 

BaseballJones

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The second and third column in the Eovaldi comparison is actually a cause for optimism because they're not too far off his career norms. Being taken deep with runners on base twice in one game is likely skewing the ERA a bit. He seems to be on the right track, but just needs to keep the ball in the yard.
His WHIP is pretty far off. 1.35 up to a 1.87? That's a giant leap. SSS and all, but still.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Yes, but it seems like something that might come down considerably with a couple of decent starts. I still think he's trending the right way but needs to hit his spots just a little bit better so those homeruns turn into lazy fly ball outs.
 

patoaflac

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I insist on the habitual Pats starts in the last few years. Of course they aren’t in such a competitive division as the AL East, but if a NFL season is long enough to right the ship, baseball seasons are eternal.
 

BaseballJones

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The silver lining of all this is that the starting pitching has been pretty solid recently. Price, Rodriguez, and Eovaldi have all posted superb starts in their last turns. And they won 2 of those 3 games. Which means, generally, when they pitch well, they'll win. (duh!)

It's Porcello and Sale now that are worrisome. But nice to see Price, ERod, and Eovaldi all pitch well.
 

DirtyWater90

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The silver lining of all this is that the starting pitching has been pretty solid recently. Price, Rodriguez, and Eovaldi have all posted superb starts in their last turns. And they won 2 of those 3 games. Which means, generally, when they pitch well, they'll win. (duh!)

It's Porcello and Sale now that are worrisome. But nice to see Price, ERod, and Eovaldi all pitch well.
Sale was throwing mid 90s consistently the other night and even hit 97-98 several times. I’m not worried about him. He’s on the verge of being himself (ie arguably best pitcher in baseball). Porcello is definitely a worry. The walk rate is insane. His WHIP is nearly twice as bad as 2018 Drew Pomeranz for chrissakes.
 

absintheofmalaise

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Sale was throwing mid 90s consistently the other night and even hit 97-98 several times. I’m not worried about him. He’s on the verge of being himself (ie arguably best pitcher in baseball). Porcello is definitely a worry. The walk rate is insane. His WHIP is nearly twice as bad as 2018 Drew Pomeranz for chrissakes.
On Tuesday you said this about Sale in the Sale thread.
He hit 97-98 tonight!

Too bad he got clobbered and continues to be one of the worst pitchers in baseball.
Which is it?
 

BaseballJones

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Boston's last four starts have been pretty solid:

Eovaldi vs. NY: 6.0 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 0 er, 1 bb, 6 k
Rodriguez vs. TB: 5.1 ip, 7 h, 4 r, 3 er, 1 bb, 6 k
Porcello vs. TB: 5.2 ip, 6 h, 2 r, 2 er, 1 bb, 5 k
Price vs. TB: 5.0 ip, 5 h, 2 r, 2 er, 2 bb, 10 k

TOT: 22.0 ip, 18 h, 9 r, 7 er, 5 bb, 27 k, 2.86 era, 1.05 whip, 11.0 k/9

Still only one "quality start", but improvement for sure!
 

BaseballJones

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Any word on the plan to replace Eovaldi? Sounds like even best-case we're talking 2 months or so. Do they just plug Vazquez in there? Are they bringing Johnson up? Or any rumors of them making a move for a pitcher? I haven't seen anything but some of you guys are better informed than I am. It's Sale tonight and then their promising rookie "Undecided" on Tuesday. Who knows...maybe he'll be good.
 

chawson

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Shawaryn and Chandler Shepherd are both lined up to be able to start the 23rd, and since the latter’s already on the 40-man, it may be time for his debut.

If Johnson and/or Wright were healthy, I’d have more faith they’d be able to try Velazquez in the rotation for more than a spot start or two, but they need an actual long man.