You can never have enough starting pitching. Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke reminded us of that fact before this week’s game against the N.Y. Mets at Fenway Park.
You can’t win with one legitimate starting pitcher. We didn’t need Roenicke’s expertise for that fact.
The Red Sox appear to be in trouble. On July 30.
But there is a silver lining, or really a sliver of a silver lining in the name of Zack Godley.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Godley’s four measly-but-great innings in Monday night’s third straight debilitating loss, 7-4 to the N.Y. Mets, is the best news over the losing streak.
The loss was another early blowout, leaving Red Sox bats to save the day.
But there is something about trailing 4-0 every game, before your starting pitcher hits 35 pitches, that can take the sails out of a great one.
The Mets were up 7-0 before the Sox were up in the fourth inning and basically mailed in the rest of the game.
“It’s tough,” said Red Sox “captain” Xander Bogaerts, trying to be nice. “It’s not like it’s one run.”
That’s where Godley comes in.
Godley, who didn’t have a job 10 days earlier and was in fact delegated to the Boston Red Sox 30-man taxi-squad in Pawtucket, has already earned a spot in the starting rotation.
The new normal.
Of course there are extenuating circumstances. David Price (trade/salary dump) is gone forever. Chris Sale (Tommy John surgery) is out for at least one year. And Eduardo Rodriguez (COVID-19) is out for at least two weeks.
The 2018 Red Sox rotation this is not.
There are other extenuating circumstances, as in Martin Perez, Ryan Weber and Josh Osich, three guys you’ve probably never heard of.
They were also Games 2, 3 and 4 starters.
It is a tad unfair to destroy the Red Sox season four or five days into it. Sure, it doesn’t look good, particularly the four starters after Nathan Eovaldi, but losing Rodriguez was unplanned and unfortunate.
The Red Sox, despite an electric lineup – yes, I said that! – have no chance against even the Baltimore Orioles using starters being paid the veteran minimum.
And while the names Josh Taylor (starter) and Darwinzon Hernandez (lefty specialist) aren’t going to scare anybody, they’re absence due to COVID-19 means two pitchers on the roster wouldn’t/shouldn’t be there.
Sox Baseball Ops president Chaim Bloom did not even attempt to replace Sale or Price, despite having ample time.
This is a “gap” year for Bloom. He was not ready to blow things up as we first thought. He basically has allowed the Red Sox to be the Red Sox, which over the last two decades has wavered between champs and dysfunction.
The only player the Red Sox could not afford to lose is Rodriguez. He is the ace. And there is not even a guy on this staff, as a potential starter, that is even half as good.
His elite, seven innings of Cy Young stuff are gone and won’t be replaced any time soon.
Godley’s resume is interesting. He had one very good year in 2018, going 15-11 with a semi-hefty 4.74 ERA while striking out one batter per inning.
The rest of his career is 32-29; hardly a savior.
But the Red Sox don’t need a savior just yet. They need a starter who can pitch four or five innings and allow this offense to take control.
The Red Sox bullpen is pretty good, we think. But you need a lead or close game in the sixth or seventh inning to show their stuff.
I get it. This doesn’t look good, particularly this early to be flipping coins on which no-name is starting tonight.
On Wednesday, Eovaldi, who looked like his old self in the opener, is back on the mound versus the Mets in Queens, N.Y.
Unfortunately for him, losing is out of the question. As crazy as this sounds, the Red Sox season hinges on him saving this sinking ship.
“Obviously we have to get better pitching,” said Roenicke. “But I think the pitching will get better.”
As for Godley’s next gig, as a starter, the Red Sox need a decent five innings allowing two or three runs. Or else.
You can email Bill Burt at firstname.lastname@example.org.