In the afterglow of David Price’s masterful performance on opening day, it was easy to forget that outside of Price and closer Craig Kimbrel, our pitching corps is still 90% the guys who got us a last-place finish in the AL East last season. About 10 minutes after Clay Buchholz took the mound for game two and promptly surrendered four runs en route to a 6-5 loss, it was easy to remember.
The fact is, Price is the only “sure thing” the Red Sox have got in the rotation right now. Yes, we spent a lot of money to ensure we’d get at least one win every five games, but if the Red Sox are going to claw their way up from the cellar, everyone not named David Price is gonna have to man up.
Last season, we got 7 wins from Clay from 18 starts. Let’s assume, based on what we saw last night, that he’ll once again prove a frustrating enigma in 2016, with a couple DL stints thrown in. That could put us at roughly 7 wins again, if not fewer. Meanwhile, Handsome Joe Kelly and Handsomely Paid Rick Porcello are still question marks. Last year, they went a combined 19-11. Both have breakout season potential, to be sure. But there’s also the possibility of regression, in which case, we’re kinda fucked. And as for Steven Wright, when it comes to the knuckleball, in most cases, we’re lucky to break even, as we did last year when he went 5-4 in a limited role.
It’s a situation that recalls all those pre-Schilling years when we’d roll Pedro Martinez out there in rotations that also included the likes of Steve Avery, Bret Saberhagen, John Burkett and — gasp — Pedro’s brother Ramon.
Bottom line: After Price, we’re rolling the dice.
Yes, Price’s presence alone should have a profoundly positive impact on the pitching staff. Having an ace in hand is good insurance against prolonged losing streaks that sap everyone’s mojo. But unless a couple guys emerge as a solid number 2 and 3 (Kelly and Porcello, I’m looking at you), we could be in for a long-ass summer. Here’s hoping that’s not the case.
That moment you realize you have pitchers on your team not named "David Price." pic.twitter.com/ICYtycu4mQ
— Red (@SurvivingGrady) April 7, 2016