Clay Buchholz rebounded with a fine start last Saturday but Boston's overall numbers as a rotation are hurting. Credit: Getty Images
It’s been an inconsistent start to the season for the Red Sox — largely due to the starting rotation’s erratic start to the year.
Through the first two turns in the rotation, Red Sox starters had an ERA of 3.86, but through the last two turns the same Sox starters had an ERA of 4.87.
“This turn though the rotation, it’s been less than we’ve shown in the past,” manager John Farrell said last week. “It’s been less than expected. And for us to play with consistency, we need our starting rotation to lead us through that. Right now, we’re not getting that.”
Going into Sunday, the Red Sox have had seven starts in which the pitcher has gone seven or more innings, but at the same time they’ve had three lasting fewer then three innings — two by left-hander Felix Doubront. Every starter has had at least one start lasting six or more innings allowing two earned runs or less and every starter except Jake Peavy has had an outing when they were unable to get out of the fifth inning without allowing six or more runs.
The Sox are No. 22 in all of baseball posting a 4.30 starters ERA mark and are No. 25 in opponents batting averaging with the opposition hitting .283 off Red Sox starters. In comparison, last year Boston’s starters had the 11th-best ERA in baseball at 3.84 and opponents hit .247, the sixth-best mark in baseball, but only .04 behind the Pirates for best in the league.
There is no question with the talent the five starters possess they should not be in the bottom third of baseball in ERA.
Jon Lester went 4-1 last postseason leading the Red Sox to the World Series, John Lackey has done a complete 180-degree turn from two years ago, Doubront was dominant for a two-month stretch last summer, Peavy is a former Cy Young Award winner and Clay Buchholz went 9-0 with a 1.72 ERA last season before missing two months with a shoulder injury.
As the Red Sox attempt to get back above .500 for the first time this season, it will begin with their starting rotation getting back to the consistency of a season ago.
Follow Metro Boston Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter:@Hannable84