On Thursday, the Red Sox dropped an easily attainable game against the lowly Tampa Bay Rays with their "ace," David Price, on the mound.
Price was shelled for eight runs, and now has an ERA of 7.06 and 17 earned runs in 21.2 innings pitched, which was, at the time, worst in the American League. Now, I do not expect Price to continue on this downward slope, but Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox brass should be shaking in their proverbial boots right now. While Price did lead the American League in strikeouts at the end of his last outing (32), no one expected him to struggle so much early in the season. Price's career ERA in March/April is 4.14, which is the highest out of any other month. As of right now, Red Sox Nation should step off the ledge and wait a couple more weeks to start freaking out. If Price is pitching like this in June, then there is cause for concern.
They went out and signed the best available pitcher on the free agent market and traded for the best available closer, both of whom have drastically underperformed. David Price and Craig Kimbrel are notorious for their slow starts, but with upwards of $250 million allocated on these two "studs," the Red Sox should be expecting far greater results. We have already talked about David Price's slow start to the season, but arguably the best closer in all of baseball has not been much better.
In 11 games, Craig Kimbrel has 6 saves (out of 7 possible situations), a 4.50 ERA, and 18 strikeouts. While those numbers are relatively vanilla, Kimbrel has had a difficult time locating the strike zone, and has subsequently given up two crucial home runs. The first came against Chris Davis in the Home Opener, which landed Kimbrel the loss. The second came against one of the hottest hitters in the league, Colby Rasmus, on an eerily similar middle-in fastball. While I am not concerned about Kimbrel yet, I feel as if someone needs to sit down with Kimbrel and teach him how to pitch. You may be able to pump a 98 MPH fastball by a hitter in the National League, but that isn't going to fly in the American League.
It is important for Red Sox Nation not to overreact to a terrible first homestand, but, out of this entire roster, who would think that these two would be at the top of our "blame list?"
I sure as hell didn't.
With Joe Kelly's injury and the uncertainty of when Eduardo Rodriguez will return, the Red Sox need to trade for some starting pitching if they want to compete in October. The offense cannot continue to put up 8 runs and still lose the ballgame. With the impending return of stud reliever Carson Smith, this pitching staff will get a much-needed facelift and order should be restored.