There is no question that Red Sox pitching was downright dreadful last season. As a whole the staff finished with an ERA of 4.72, which ranked 12th out of the 14 American League teams.
Coming off of their worst season in more than 40 years as a team, clearly the pitching needs to be better, and judging by the number of pitchers reporting early to spring training, the group is ready to put the work in and turn things around.
Pitchers and catchers don’t officially report until Feb. 12, but 19 hurlers on the spring training roster have already shown up in Fort Myers, Fla. and have started to work out.
The list includes Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Andrew Bailey and Daniel Bard, all of whom had rough years in 2012. Lackey missed the entire campaign due to Tommy John surgery.
As the top pitchers on the staff, Lester and Buchholz were clearly major disappointments in 2012, both arguably having the worst seasons of their careers. Lester had just nine wins and finished with an ERA of 4.82, while Buchholz fared a little better, totaling 11 wins with an ERA of 4.56.
The pair will once again be the top two pitchers in the Boston rotation and having them get to spring training early sets the tone for the entire staff, signaling that there is no messing around this year.
Lackey has reportedly dropped a considerable amount of weight and will look to get back to pitching like he was with the Angels. In his last five years out West he finished with an ERA under 4.0, including 3.01 in 2007.
In his two years in Boston, Lackey’s ERAs were 4.40 and 6.41 respectively.
Last year Bard’s experiment as a starting pitcher went horribly wrong, but going into 2013 as a reliever and getting former pitcher coach John Farrell back as manager, has Bard in decent position to get back to being one of the better set-up men in baseball.
It isn’t going to be easy to meet the always high expectations of Red Sox Nation and the organization this year, especially coming off a 69-win season, but having so many players report to spring training early certainly is a positive first step.
Schilling says Sox brass pushed PEDs in 2008
Former members of the Red Sox organization told former pitcher Curt Schilling in 2008 that performance-enhancing drugs were an option for him to extend his career, Schilling told ESPN radio Thursday.
Schilling later tweeted that the person that brought up the topic “wasn’t anyone in uniform, nor the baseball ops group.”
Schilling was sidelined with a shoulder injury in 2008 and retired in March of 2009.
“It was an incredibly uncomfortable conversation,” the three-time World Series champion told radio host Colin Cowherd. “Because it came up in the midst of a group of people. The other people weren’t in the conversation but they could clearly hear the conversation. And it was suggested to me that at my age and in my situation, why not? What did I have to lose? Because if I wasn’t going to get healthy, it didn’t matter. And if I did get healthy, great.” - Matt Burke