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The Boston Red Sox Starting Rotation Looks Like It Is Finally Coming Together

A quick glance at the Red Sox starting rotation and it's just as bad as everyone predicted before the season. 

Despite absolutely awful results, the Red Sox have stayed competitive behind a really well-rounded offense. Masataka Yoshida has been the perfect offensive piece for them. Alex Verdugo has been playing at an All-Star level and Jarren Duran is hitting 100 points higher than he has in his career. Mix in Rafael Devers who has been good this year but can certainly hit another gear and you have a good offense that you can see improving with a couple moves at the deadline (maybe catcher or first base upgrades?).

Because of that and (with the exception of a bad weekend against the Cards), a lockdown short relief game, the Red Sox have been above .500 since mid-April. They have the misfortune of playing in the toughest division in baseball but even with that being said, they are only 2.5 games out of the wild card with a very difficult divisional schedule. It's not as bad as it had been in years past but they still have to face each team in the AL East 13 times. This seems kinda unfair when the Twins and Guardians get to play the Battlefield Earth of baseball teams.

Boston Globe. Getty Images.

The Red Sox pitching may finally be turning the corner. They've sent Nick Pivetta to the bullpen. Tanner Houck has been pitching better (he was great against the Angels last night with 6 IP, 1 ER, 8 K). Mix that with Garret Whitlock coming back from injury and Corey Kluber might find himself out of a job very soon. The team is committed to a six man rotation at least for this week but I don't know how much longer a contending team can keep sending Kluber out there. His greatest strength last year was his control. He only walked 21 batter last year in 164 innings. This year? 18 walks in 41 innings.

Removing Kluber will be huge but the biggest reason this rotation is really starting to take shape? The ace Chris Sale.

Here is Sale over the past 4 starts: 27.1 IP, 16 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 32 K. He's pitching better than he has since 2018. Basically he's been hurt or not very good since the last Mission Impossible movie came out. He did get off to a horrible start so his ERA is still above 5 but he has been dominant since the calendar turned to May. If can keep up this level of dominance the rest of the year, he might start becoming a Hall of Fame candidate again. That's also a huge "if" for a guy who made 11 total starts from 2020-22.

This same injury concerns will always orbit James Paxton but he's looked fantastic in his first two starts off the IL. If you have a dominant Sale and quality starts from Paxton, you could have something. Mix in making a trade with the White Sox for Lucas Giolito or see if the Tigers would deal Eduardo Rodriguez back to Boston, you're looking at a team that could land one of those wild card spots.

I don't see anyone catching the Rays. The Orioles are also ahead of the Sox but have many of the same weaknesses but without an ace like Sale. I could see both of these teams competing for pitching in the trade market. The Orioles have the better farm system but if Brayan Bello can keep establishing himself, he could be an ideal trade chip for any team looking to rebuild. 

The 2022 Red Sox did get off to a better start (they were 42-31 at one point) but with each passing day, this squad seems primed for a better overall season. It all rides on Sale and Paxton but if May is any indication, that's not a bad spot to be in.