Last season was something of a disaster for the Red Sox. A World Series hangover was all too real as the team looked headed for the land of nowhere right out of the gate. But that 2014 team at least had a .500 record, 17-17, on May 8. That team was just 1.5 games behind division-leading Baltimore and were tied for third place.
One year later, the Sox are worse off. They are 13-15 and are in dead last in the AL East. Pitching coach Juan Nieves was the fall guy Thursday as the Sox fired him during his third season in Boston. Boston’s starting pitching staff, which doesn’t have an “ace” to speak of, currently owns a combined ERA of 5.54.
“We’ve been in the process of examining our overall pitching performance. I think, as everyone knows, there’s a lot that goes into pitching performance, starting with the pitchers themselves,” Red Sox GM Ben Cherington told The Boston Globe. “There’s a lot of different factors that come into play when looking at why things are happening well or not well. And given the performance that we’ve had to date, we’ve been looking at all of those things and while we’re confident that we have many of the pieces in place to improve and that we will see improvement, [manager] John [Farrell] and I simply got to a point where we felt that in order to continue to push forward and make improvement we needed to make a change and add a different voice in that particular position.”
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April was far from a mess for the Sox as they finished the opening month with a so-so 12-10 record. But they have won just one game since the calendar turned to May.
Righting the ship this weekend in Toronto won’t be easy. While the Blue Jays, like the Sox, are floating around the .500-mark, the Jays’ bats pose a great threat to the Red Sox’ shaky pitching. The Blue Jays lead MLB in runs scored by 15 runs – a whopping lead considering it’s only early May. While the Red Sox have received plenty of kudos this season for assembling a potent lineup, their run total is paltry to that of Toronto’s as the Sox have scored 128 runs this season – good for eighth in the majors.
Wade Miley (1-3, 7.15 ERA) will take the mound for the Red Sox Friday while the Blue Jays will send out Aaron Sanchez (2-2, 4.62 ERA). Joe Kelly (1-1, 5.72 ERA) gets the ball for Boston Saturday and will go up against Drew Hutchison (2-0, 7.47 ERA). Clay Buchholz (1-4, 6.03 ERA) is schedule to throw in the series finale with R.A. Dickey (1-3, 4.38 ERA) slated to work Sunday.