He may have had a 5.88 ERA last year, but Justin Masterson plays an integral part in the Red Sox plan for 2015.
I don’t think there has ever been a team in recent memory that has inspired such wildly inconsistent predictions from baseball analysts than the 2015 Boston Red Sox.
While the Red Sox have been favored by many to win the AL pennant, some think the AL East is up for grabs, let alone the AL pennant.
There is optimism for the season ahead, especially considering it can’t get too much worse than a last place finish in the AL East. The doubt in the minds of many, however, stems from the pitching rotation, and rightfully so.
The starting pitching rotation far from inspires optimism. Clay Buchholz is in contention for shakiest ace in the history of the MLB. Rick Porcello and Wade Miley can pitch and eat up innings, which helps the bullpen – but aren’t exactly what you would consider conventional starters on a playoff team, let alone championship team. The same goes for Justin Masterson and “Machine Gun” Joe Kelly, who round out the starters.
This rotation seems underwhelming… at least typed out on a computer screen. I’d like to think otherwise. John Farrell and the front office certainly do.
The fact is, the pitching may rely on the Red Sox positional players for support, and no, I don’t mean just the potentially lethal lineup. As it stands, Red Sox starting rotation has an averaged ground ball rate of over 50%, led by Masterson’s 56%. With ground-ball pitchers, comes heavy reliance on the infield, which figures to be solid all around including an improved Bogaerts manning shortstop.
Will this work? Can the Red Sox get by with this rotation? The Red Sox seem to think so. It’s not a conventional rotation staff led by power pitchers, but at least there is a plan – a plan that feels so experimental, it seems more like a case study. With that, I’d like to dub this pitching case study as “The Ground Ball Effect”. I just hope Ben Cherington doesn’t lose the Phillies front office phone number when the trade deadline comes around, because the Red Sox might find themselves needing a Cole Hamels.