The Red Sox are currently the first Wild Card team in the AL with a 51-39 record. They are a game and a half behind the Orioles in the AL East and a game ahead of the Blue Jays for the second Wild Card spot. After trading a top pitching prospect for Drew Pomeranz, it is clear that the Sox are planning on making the playoffs, and possibly more this year.
While Pomeranz is a good addition, with a 2.47 ERA and an All-Star appearance, the lack of a true ace is still present with this team. Just a hypothetical question to think about is, who gets the ball if the Red Sox are forced to compete in the 1 game play-in?
As it currently stands, these are the numbers of the 5 Red Sox starters that we're likely to see going forward:
Drew Pomeranz: 8-7, 2.47
Steven Wright:11-5, 2.78
Rick Porcello: 11-2, 3.66
David Price: 9-7, 4.36
Eduardo Rodriguez: 2-3, 7.18
On paper, Pomeranz or maybe even Wright is the starter of that 1 game play-in matchup. However, unless you're in Oakland, baseball isn't completely based on the numbers.
I included the records of each pitcher, even though most people understand that records do not correctly represent a pitcher's skill and performances. Price has 7 losses, and it is fair to say that he pitched decently and got no run support from the offense in a few of those. However, with that argument, it is fair to say that the offense is a big reason he has 9 wins.
I included the records because there seems to be a trend with the wins and losses, depending on who is pitching. The offense seems to take the night off anytime 24 takes the mound for whatever reason. Since the beginning of June, the Red Sox have averaged 1.7 runs whenever Price starts. I personally think it is just a weird coincidence, but do you count on that trend ending when the season is on the line?
Steven Wright has clearly been the Red Sox' best pitcher this season, and it hasn't really been close. However, I don't think I'm alone in saying that I don't trust the knuckleball whatsoever. Wright's performance can be altered by many factors, the main one being the weather. Although Wright has been consistent with it all year, that one game where everything is on the line might be when the knuckler doesn't move at all and the Sox lose by 10.
While Porcello has also been very consistent this season, he just doesn't seem like he has what it takes to step it up and win in a big situation. With this just being a gut feeling, I could be completely wrong, but I highly doubt we'd see Pretty Ricky on the mound in that game.
When it all comes down to it, David Price will be the guy on the mound in that situation. I don't care how he's pitched this season, I don't care what his playoff track record is, he will be the guy. You don't pay a guy $31 million a year to not pitch in that situation.
The Red Sox acquired Price to be "the guy" for them, and Price knew that was the case when he signed his monstrous deal. The four other pitchers would have to go on an unbelievable stretch in the second half to even make Red Sox management think twice about not throwing Price.
Giving the nod to Price would also give Farrell the convenience of a win-win situation in terms of his job security. If he chooses Price and they win, then they win and move onto October; no argument needed. If Price goes out and pitches terrible then Farrell can just turn around and say that he threw his best pitcher out there, he didn't perform, and there was nothing he can do.
I personally think that the Red Sox will not have to deal with this situation, but it is a fun topic to argue. Given the past few seasons, the fact that we are discussing who pitches in the playoffs is a good sign for Red Sox fans.
By Matt Watts