Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

McCarthy: it's clear that the Red Sox rotation isn't ready for the regular season

By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com

Can we send the Red Sox rotation back to Fort Myers?

It's obviously still spring training for this bunch.

The Red Sox starting staff was supposed to be the strength of this team. Chances are, it still will be, but their performance is the major reason why the defending World Series champs have stumbled out of the gate to open 2019.

It doesn't get much uglier than this.

Yuck.

It's painfully obvious the the Red Sox rotation is not ready for real baseball.

The Sox wanted to manage their pitchers' workloads entering 2019, concerned with the after effects from a taxing October. The team is taking the long view, which is the correct approach, but it's also the reason why the first five games in 2019 have been so brutal.

In a normal year, most pitchers would make four to six starts in the spring. Not this year.

Chris Sale, David Price, and Nathan Eovaldi only made two spring training appearances each, with none throwing more than nine innings in Grapefruit League play. Rick Porcello was a workhorse comparatively, throwing 12 innings over three starts.

Is it any surprise that none of these pitchers look ready for the regular season? They've barely pitched in five months.

Mar 28, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (41) walks back to the mound after surrendering a two-run home run to Seattle Mariners shortstop Tim Beckham (background) during the third inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox aren't ready to admit that their spring training approach this year might have slowed the readiness of their pitchers. They have pointed out that they deliberately eased their starters into the 2018 season, too.

That might be true, but Sale, Porcello, and Price all made more Grapefruit League starts in 2018 than 2019. They all threw more innings in the spring last year. The difference in the approach between last year and this year is clear, no matter what the Red Sox say.

The starters just aren't ready. It's not the end of the world.

There's no reason to panic if they continue to sputter for the next week or two. Give it a few turns through the rotation and everything should be fine. The starters will begin to round into form and the 2019 Red Sox should take off.

Baseball season is starting earlier than ever now. For the Red Sox starting pitching staff, 2019 came a few weeks too early, it seems.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub's own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.