The Boston Red Sox State Of The Union Part 2 – The Pitchers: 2014 Preview

This is a not a slight on the Red Sox at all, but they should not be favored to win the American League right now.  Detroit should be that placeholder.  I am not sure the Red Sox will even in the AL East.  I would go with the Rays or Yankees before them right now.  The Rays had one of the best second half records in 2013, and the Yankees are a lot better as well.  I am also not sure of the team losing Ellsbury, Drew, Dempster and Saltalamacchia has improved itself with Capuano, Middlebrooks, Pierzynski and the tandem of Sizemore and Bradley JR.

This is a not a slight on the Red Sox at all, but they should not be favored to win the American League right now. Detroit should be that placeholder. I am not sure the Red Sox will even win the AL East. I would go with the Rays or Yankees before them right now. The Rays had one of the best second half records in 2013, and the Yankees are a lot better as well. I am also not sure of the team losing Ellsbury, Drew, Dempster and Saltalamacchia has improved itself with Capuano, Middlebrooks, Pierzynski and the tandem of Sizemore and Bradley JR.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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For added depth in the Bullpen, the franchise added Edward Mujica, amply giving the team multiple options at Closer should Koji Uehara not duplicate his 2013 success in 2014.

The management did a great job in peacemealing this Pitching Rotation in 2014.

Big injuries, 3 different Closers, and finally won the hottest Closers to end a year in Uehara pitching for the clubs final outs to win the Fall Classic.

The latest addition as of now for the 2014 season, are Chris Capuano for the Starting staff and also Bullpen arm Burke Badenhop, who came over from a nice year in the pen for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The club will sees Ryan Dempster take the year off for injury, but are stoked about saving his $14 MIL pricetag that he is forfeiting this season.

The Bullpen features Koji Uehara, Craig Breslow, Edward Mujica, Brandon Workman, Burke Badenhop, Andrew Miller, Junichi Tazawa and Alex Wilson round out the potential Relief Core.

The Starting Rotation was also held together with duct tape and barbed wire in 2013, but it was enough to aid the awesome offense, and the team will sporting championship rings because of it.

The Red Sox brought home their 3rd Title in 10 years, and now will try to be the 1st team to repeat as champs since their nemesis Yankees accomplished the feat three times in a row from 1998 - 2000.  This team is similar to last year's squad, but I am not sure the same result will occur.

The Red Sox brought home their 3rd Title in 10 years, and now will try to be the 1st team to repeat as champs since their nemesis Yankees accomplished the feat three times in a row from 1998 – 2000. This team is similar to last year’s squad, but I am not sure the same result will occur.

The Bullpen

This is where the team may struggle.  With a huge workload because of playoffs, added with a full 2014 year, these guys may see their age show in 2014.

Every member of their Bullpen (except Tazawa and Workman) are now in their 30’s.

Uehara has had several times with dominant stretches of play, but then followed up with serving up long HRs.  I wouldn’t say that 2013 was a fluke, I just think it will be tough to duplicate in 2014.

Craig Breslow had his best season of his career in 2013, yielding a 1.81 ERA in 61 Appearances.  He still has good stuff, and an ERA for his lifetime at 2.81.

Junichi Tazawa jumped from a 1.43 ERA in 37 Appearances, to a 3.16 ERA in 2013, but he also appeared in 71 contests.  I think this is what we can expect from him in 2014 as well.

Burke Badenhop is fresh off a decent stint with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2013, hosting a 3.47 ERA in 63 Appearances.

It was his 4th straight year of 50+ Appearances, and this guy has never had an ERA south of 3 for a reliever either (neared it with TB In 2012 – 3.03).

Andrew Miller had is most successful campaign to date in 2013, netting a 2.64 ERA in 30.2 IP – to vastly improve from his 3.35 mark in 40.1 IP worth of work in 2012, and to better his lifetime clip of 5.33.

The guy is a Lefty specialist the team needs in the vaunted AL East.  You need a guy like that when facing players like Chris Davis.

Edward Mujica started the 2013 season as the Closer for the St. Louis Cardinals, put forth an ALL – Star Appearance, before being won out for the job by Trevor Rosenthal when his numbers began slipping.

I would call a 2.78 ERA and Saving 37 out of 41 chances a pretty damn good year, and he provides another option to Close for the reigning champs.

Brandon Workman will be the swingman, long inning relief guy.  He held a 4.97 ERA in 20 Appearances during the 2013 season.

In the long playoff run, this guy worked 8.2 IP of scoreless Innings.  This bodes well.

The Starting Staff

Jon Lester rebounded last season to a routine 15 - 8 record, with an ERA of 3.75, after a horrible 9 - 14, 4.82 ERA in 2012. 2014 represents the 30 Year Olds last year of his contract with the club. The player wants the franchise to extend him, but he may command big dollars with another good season in 2014. Lester loves throwing Fenway Park - where he was 7 - 1, with a 3.09 ERA, and was a 4.21 clip on the road. It did not look good for the LHP at the ALL - Star Break, being 8 - 7, with a rapidly escalating 4.58 ERA, but he buckled down with a 7 - 2 finish, with a 2.57 ERA in his last 13 Game Starts.

Jon Lester rebounded last season to a routine 15 – 8 record, with an ERA of 3.75, after a horrible 9 – 14, 4.82 ERA in 2012.2014 represents the 30 Year Olds last year of his contract with the club. The player wants the franchise to extend him, but he may command big dollars with another good season in 2014. Lester loves throwing Fenway Park – where he was 7 – 1, with a 3.09 ERA, and was a 4.21 clip on the road. It did not look good for the LHP at the ALL – Star Break, being 8 – 7, with a rapidly escalating 4.58 ERA, but he buckled down with a 7 – 2 finish, with a 2.57 ERA in his last 13 Game Starts.

The Starters north of 30 now include John Lackey (35), Jake Peavy (32) and Jon Lester is also 30.

Jon Lester’ forever entrenched his name in Boston’s lore with 2 victories in the World Series last year.

Look for the man to have a great year in his walk season.  I think 15 – 10, with a 3.45 ERA is pretty fair totals for the longest reigning BoSox Pitcher..

John Lackey as the 2nd starter on the Depth Chart scares me.  His 3.52 ERA helped the team in his 29 Game Starts, after being on the shelf in 2012. He is 35, and has a career ERA of 4.05 ERA.  I am thinking a year similar to his 2011 will be par for the course.  I am thinking 11 - 11, with a 4.40 ERA.

John Lackey as the 2nd starter on the Depth Chart scares me. His 3.52 ERA helped the team in his 29 Game Starts, after being on the shelf in 2012. He is 35, and has a career ERA of 4.05 ERA. I am thinking a year similar to his 2011 will be par for the course. I am thinking 11 – 11, with a 4.40 ERA.

Clay Buchholz barely made it through the 2013 season, and he was absolutely done in his last game he threw in the playoffs.

Boston would never have won anything without his awesome start.  The 7 Year Veteran has only pitched 744.2 IP in 7 years.

I honestly think he will either struggle or not make it through the season.  I am not making any predictions there.

Jake Peavy was brought in at the Deadline, and now it looks brilliant for this year with Dempster having let the team for a sabbatical.

The former White Sox and Padres pitcher is questionable for his 1st start because of a lacerated left finger from a fishing expedition.

When this guy returns, the clubs Wild Card player is the guy.  I am forecasting a great season.  I think he will throw enough innings (190) to kick in his $15 MIL Player Option in 2015.

Peavy could go 14 – 9, with a 3.80 ERA.

The 5th member of the rotation is Felix Doubront.  This is a great display of depth if Buchholz can hold it together,  Last year he was 11 – 6, with a 4.32 ERA.

This could also be a breakout year for the LHP.

The 2014 projection.  12 – 8, 4.40 ERA.

Chris Capuano may provide some great depth for the rotation, especially when you consider the age of the top 3 pitchers, plus Buchholz being a risk factor for injury.

I think that Boston is going to have problems with the Starting Staff making it through this season.  Lester, Peavy and Doubront should be fine.

Going back to back for  title wins hasn’t been done since the Yankees won 3 in a row since 1998 – 2000.  I am just not sure the Red Sox can accomplish it either this time around.

The Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees and Baltimore are great teams with offenses that can light you up.

Tampa is my pick to win the Division this year, and I am not seeing another AL East club coming out of this for a playoff spot.

76 games versus one another will knock all of the other 4 teams out of playoff contention.  The strength of schedule is too tough.

Boston has a great shot, in fact many gambling experts have them favored to win the AL.  I just can’t get behind that statement.

The Boston Red Sox started out the season 21 - 8 after their 1st 29 games in 2013.  They rolled it all the way to their 3rd WS Title in a decade - but are they the best team in the MLB during this stretch?

The Boston Red Sox started out the season 21 – 8 after their 1st 29 games in 2013. They rolled it all the way to their 3rd WS Title in a decade – but are they the best team in the MLB during this stretch?

The management did an incredible job putting together this team in 2013, however the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury will be felt.

I think this team will win between 85 – 88 games.  Heck, I even think they could be leading the Division at the ALL – Star Break.

The difference between this club and the Yankees, is that their players are all on short term deals with the exception of Pedroia.

This means the club will be able to re-stock, replenish and improve their club a lot more in future years than the “Bronx Bombers’

Having said that, the Red Sox have shown a willingness to carry a large payroll for each year, they just don’t want to be locked in long-term.

I forecast the Rays Pitching Staff to take over the 2nd half of the year like they have the previous 2 years, and I think the Yankees will spare no expense for Derek Jeter‘s last run.

The Red Sox/Yankees feud could knock both clubs out by the end of the regular season.

For Part 1 Of the Boston Red Sox State Of The Union – The Hitters: 2014 Preview click here.

New Red Sox MGR John Farrell returned to the team he was part of from 2007 - 2010.  It were if he sprinkled some magic pixie dust, and had the golden touch around anything he did last season.  Now it is time to build  a legacy for him in Boston

New Red Sox MGR John Farrell returned to the team he was part of from 2007 – 2010. It were if he sprinkled some magic pixie dust, and had the golden touch around anything he did last season. Now it is time to build a legacy for him in Boston

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com ***

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Bonus Red Sox Chat with Baseball Podcaster and Red Sox Fan ‘Sully’

Red Sox fanatic and actress Hilary Barraford, from John Sayles’ Go For Sisters, is the guest for today’s episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

We discussed staying loyal to a team 3,000 miles away, how greedy Boston sports fans have become, and why I should refer to her as “Your Honor.”

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Posted on March 20, 2014, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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