The Red Sox' first off-day of the young season couldn't have come at a better time. In the aftermath of their deflating 9-7 loss to the Yankees Sunday, the Sox could use some time to rinse the taste from their mouths.
The seven-game road trip continues Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays, who are off to a disappointing start themselves.
But first, a few thoughts on where things stand:
- They're not this bad, are they?
Probably not, though at this point, there are few certainties about the 2020 MLB season.
It was a given that the starting pitching was going to be an adventure, what with Eduardo Rodriguez missing, Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez bumped up a few notches in the pecking order and some relative unknowns deployed to round out the rotation.
However, it's been far, far worse than advertised. Boston's starting pitchers have a cumulative 6.69 ERA, and while that's abysmal on its face, it's actually worse. Take Sunday: the Red Sox used Austin Brice as its opener and he contributed a scoreless (if rocky) first inning. That outing actually somewhat lowered the ERA from the 6.87 figure before Sunday's game.
But that doesn't reflect the fact Matt Hall, who followed Brice to the mound and was blasted for five runs in two innings. No matter who was responsible -- opener or bulk guy -- the Sox had still given up five runs by the end of the first inning, hardly a formula for success in any season.
Having gone through their rotation two times now, the Red Sox have more performances to evaluate, and if Hall and others don't improve soon, they won't be entrusted with starts -- opener or conventional. Using that logic, it seems unlikely that whomever the Sox slot into the rotation won't represent at least some improvement.
The good news in the short-term is that the two games at Tropicana Field will feature Eovaldi and Perez. Eovaldi has had two good starts and Perez is 1-for-2. And there's this: only times the Red Sox have won over the first 10 games has come in games started by one of those two starters. With everyone else, they're a ghastly 0-7.
2. It's later than you think.