Red Sox Report Card: Midterm grades are in for pitching staff

AP Photo/David J. PhillipWith half the season gone, Chris Sale sits at 3-7.

Somehow, we’re already past the halfway point of the Red Sox season.

That means midterm grades are due, and as far as the pitching staff goes, it’s been a whole lot of meh. Not many landed an A.

Here are their first half grades:

Matt Barnes — B

3-3, 4.19 ERA, 1.282 WHIP

Always tasked with the most difficult assignments, Barnes was acing them until June. A heavy workload led to a significant drop off this month, and thus Barnes has been bumped to a B. Dave Dombrowski needs to get him some late-inning help.

Ryan Brasier — C

2-3, 3.34 ERA, 1.113 WHIP

Brasier began the season as Alex Cora’s No. 2 in the bullpen, but has since fallen out of that role. Struggling to command his fastball, Brasier has regressed in his second season with the Sox. It was unfair to expect the journeyman to replicate his otherworldly 2018.

Colten Brewer — C+

1-2, 4.24 ERA, 1.765 WHIP

He started slow — like almost everyone else did — but Brewer has been a pleasant surprise of late. He’s only allowed one run this month, and though his WHIP is through the roof, he’s been unfazed by most of the traffic on the bases.

Heath Hembree — B+

In a 2019 season that’s an ode to the departed Joe Kelly, Hembree started slow and then went on a ridiculous run. Before a forearm injury landed on the injured list, Hembree had allowed two runs (one earned) in 20 outings.

Rick Porcello — C

5-7, 4.52 ERA, 1.345 WHIP

In the final season of his contract, this hasn’t been the walk year Porcello was looking for. The 2016 Cy Young winner has had some great starts, some bad ones, and his middling stats sit right about where they should be. Porcello has more to give.

David Price — B

5-2, 3.36 ERA, 1.120 WHIP

Price has been Boston’s best pitcher when he’s been available. A wonky first half has seen five starts of five innings or fewer, and with a brief stint on the injured list, Price is only on pace to throw 144 innings. Still, if the Red Sox were in the Wild Card Game tomorrow, it’d be a tough decision whether to start Chris Sale over Price.

Eduardo Rodriguez — C

8-4, 4.87 ERA, 1.354 WHIP

Rodriguez’s record isn’t indicative of his first half, as the young lefty with copious talent has allowed at least four runs in nine of his 16 outings. He’s pitched into the seventh inning in three straight outings, so maybe he’s turning a corner, but with Rodriguez seeing is believing. The potential is always there. It’s on him to realize it.

Chris Sale — C

3-7, 3.82 ERA, 1.026 WHIP

Chris Sale was paid like an ace in the offseason, but he hasn’t pitched like one often enough in the first half. Though there have been flashes of brilliance and the strikeout numbers are there, Sale is still looking for his first win at Fenway Park in 2019.

Marcus Walden — A-

6-0, 2.72 ERA, 1.023 WHIP

Armed with a sharpened slider, Marcus Walden put together an unpredictably nasty first half. Technically a rookie at 30 years old, Walden has been entrusted with some of the biggest innings of the season, and has continually made Cora look wise for going to him.

Brandon Workman — A

7-1, 1.70 ERA, 1.027 WHIP

Where would the Red Sox be without Brandon Workman? Baseball’s most used reliever in the first half (40 appearances), Workman is holding opposing batters to a .101 average. He’s walking a lot of batters, but it doesn’t matter when nobody can hit him.

Incomplete: Nathan Eovaldi, Brian Johnson, Travis Lakins, Mike Shawaryn, Josh Smith, Josh Taylor, Tyler Thornburg, Ryan Weber, Steven Wright.

Chris Mason is a Red Sox beat writer for the Gloucester Daily Times and CNHI Sports Boston. Email him at, and follow him on Twitter at @ByChrisMason