Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Red Sox Grades: The Pitchers

The Starters

Jon Lester: A-
Lester has been just about as good as people could have asked for. His first start or two were a little shaky, but he has comeback in a big way. He is currently 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. Look for him to continue All-Star caliber all year.

Josh Beckett: A+
When taking into consideration the expectations for Beckett this year, this grade was a no-brainer. Beckett has been 2001-esque thus far in 2011. Right now, Beckett stands at 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA. He is also averaging 9 strike outs per 9 innings, which is his most since 2003. His velocity has been in the mid-90s this year, and that should mean good things if it continues.

Clay Buchholz: C
Buchholz has been the biggest disappointment on the pitching staff. After a stellar 2010 season in which he was an all star and finished 6th in Cy Young voting, big things were expected of Clay. This year, he has so far turned in a 1-2 record with a bloated 5.31 ERA. He has also given up 6 home runs in his first four starts, which is just three less than he gave up all of last year.

John Lackey: C-
After struggling in 2010 in the first year of the of his five year contract, Lackey has not looked great so far this year. Although he has looked pretty decent in his last couple starts, he still stands at 2-2. In addition to the .500 record, he holds a 6.35 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP.

Daisuke Matsuzaka: B-
Just like with the Josh Beckett grade, this grade was given considering the expectations Dice-K had coming into 2011. He has not been fantastic, but his last two starts have been. After having the worst outing of his career three starts ago, Daisuke has been shutting offenses down. He stands at 2-2 with a 4.09 ERA.


Tim Wakefield: C-
The longtime Red Sox knuckleballer looks like he's finally on his last legs. Pitching just 10 innings in six appearances, Wake is without a decision and a 6.10 ERA. He has already given up three home runs, and he is mainly featured in garbage time situations.

Alfredo Aceves: B+
I can't give him a higher grade because he has only pitched 8 innings in six appearances, but Aceves has pitched well in his first season as a Red Sox pitcher. He has only given up two earned runs in the eight innings he's pitched. One thing to worry about is that each of those runs were solo home runs, so he has been hit hard a couple of times.

Dan Wheeler: D
Wheeler has not looked good thus far after the Red Sox signed him to shore up their 6th/7th inning bullpen spot. He has pitched just 7.1 innings in eight appearances, and has a horrid 9.82 ERA. He is still without a decision, but he is going to need to improve if he wants to continue to pitch.

Bobby Jenks: C
Jenks is also in his first year in the Red Sox bullpen. He was brought in to help Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon hold leads late in games. He has not looked up to par so far, with a 7.26 ERA in just 9 appearances. He has got to improve, and history says he will.

Daniel Bard: B
Bard's numbers don't look like he would deserve this grade. He is currently 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA. However, he really struggled in his first couple appearances, but he has pitched much better as of late. He should continue to pitch well and solidify his spot as the 8th inning man on this team.

Jonathan Papelbon: A-
Papelbon is in likely his final season Beantown. He has lately become slightly underrated by the Red Sox faithful, and he is showing strong stuff in 2011. His splitter looks like it did a couple of years ago. He has coverted five saves this year to go along with his 2.16 ERA.

Overall, I'd give this pitching staff a B-. They were not good at all in the start of the year, but they have been the major reason for the spike in wins the team is seeing now. The starters have all been pitching well lately, and that should help the bullpen by getting them some rest.

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