By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Pitching, pitching, pitching. You can never have enough, as the saying goes, unless you’re the 2018 Red Sox.
Before we go any further, let’s get this out there right off the bat: the Red Sox are not going to blow the division. The Red Sox are too good, the lead is still too big, and the schedule is now too short. The New York Yankees blew a 2-0 lead to the Chicago White Sox last night and now sit 6 1/2 games (six in the loss column) behind the Red Sox in the division with basically 30 games to play. You can preach all the doomsday scenarios you’d like. But the math is the math.
Now, with regards to the matter of the Red Sox pitching staff, that is another matter entirely.
Which brings us back to Dave Dombrowski.
Given the consistency of this topic, we’ll spare you all of the particulars in the interest of time and space. Just know this: the Red Sox pitching has failed them in the last two postseasons and Dombrowski (one championship in 30 years) has a history of building vulnerable bullpens. If the Red Sox go belly-up again this year and their pitching fails them – particularly in the late innings – we’re going to look at July 31 as the pivotal date.
That was the date of the annual major league non-waiver trading deadline. And that was the date Dombrowski took a decidedly hands-off approach to the Red Sox pitching staff, making Nathan Eovaldi the Sox’ only pitching acquisition.
Think of that. The Red Sox had the best record in baseball and were on a historic pace. They had a clear need. And Dombrowski’s idea of fortifying the Sox for the stretch run was … Nathan Eovaldi, who has been with five teams in seven years during his major league career and possesses a career 4.38 ERA in the American League with more hits than innings pitched.
Before we go any further, here’s how Red Sox pitched have fared in the last week. The ERA column is outlined in red while the WHIP column is outlined in green.
Now look, with regard to the 2018 season, we’re only talking about a week here. But that’s not the point. With regard to Eovaldi, Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly, among others, there have been years of performance to determine what these pitchers are. And despite that, Dombrowski entrusted one of the more successful regular season teams in Red Sox history to them entering the final stages of the year.
When you get right down to it, how does a team with that much promise and that much at stake fail to make any significant pitching additions at the trading deadline?