July 12, 2024

Three ridiculous numbers that highlight the amazing success of the Red Sox….

Insane starting pitching has been the story of the Boston Red Sox’s season. What was supposed to be their biggest deficiency turned out to be the Sox’s greatest strength to date.

Boston’s rotation and bullpen both started off hot, but as injuries have ravaged its lineup, the starters have been able to maintain their dominance. Many MLB fans and reporters didn’t believe the Red Sox starters would be able to keep their ERA so low, but against all odds, they’ve sustained their unfathomable pace.

After the season-ending injury to Lucas Gioltio and Jordan Montgomery’s signing with the Diamondbacks, much of Red Sox Nation lost hope for the season. Adding experienced, proven starting pitching was regarded as one of the only ways the Red Sox could salvage the campaign.

Boston’s rotation was set up to be worse than it was last year. After losing James Paxton and trading Chris Sale, the Red Sox were expected to be lost on the mound. But Brayan Bello, Nick Pivetta, Kutter Crawford, Garrett Whitlock, Tanner Houck, and others have stepped up in ways no one anticipated.

3 insane stats that show how incredible Red Sox starting rotation has been

Starters’ ERA

The Red Sox boast the lowest starting pitcher ERA in MLB, and only one other team comes close to the level of production they’ve gotten from their rotation.

Boston’s starters have posted a 2.05 ERA in 26 games. The only team on their tail is the Philadelphia Phillies with a 2.12 figure, and the New York Yankees follow them with a 3.01.

Boston’s ERA was lower before its afternoon tilt with the Cleveland Guardians on April 25. Chase Anderson, pitching in Bello’s stead, let up a home run and a grand slam in the second inning, which raised the Red Sox’s starting pitcher ERA to 2.05 from 1.73. Anderson’s outing was the first case of Boston’s replacement starters missing the mark.

The Red Sox carried an ERA under 2.00 through the first 25 games of their season, and it was the lowest ERA any Red Sox team has logged through 25 games in the Live Ball Era.

Kutter Crawford and Tanner Houck’s utter dominance

The Red Sox have two starters in particular who have blown opponents out of the water with their stuff. Crawford and Houck — the last of Boston’s original starters left standing after injuries rocked the rotation — have dominated on the mound in each of their five starts.

Both hurlers are off to the best seasons of their careers. Crawford’s 0.66 ERA (heading into Friday) leads MLB and he’s fanned 30 batters over 27.1 innings. Crawford is the only one of the Red Sox’s starters who has not given up a home run this year.

Houck’s ERA sits at 1.65, which ranks in the top 10 in MLB. He’s recorded the most strikeouts of any Boston starter at 32, and he’s pitched the most innings, 32 2/3, thanks to a Greg Maddux-like complete-game shutout performance on April 17.

Crawford and Houck rank in the top three on Fangraphs’ MLB pitcher leaderboard, at two and three, respectively. Zack Wheeler has overtaken Crawford as No. 1 on the list, likely due to his 1.93 ERA and 11.09 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s also made one more start than both Houck and Crawford, so he’s pitched more innings.

WooSox pitchers have stepped up

The Red Sox have been forced to look to depth pitchers to help get through the temporary lack of Pivetta, Whitlock and Bello. Cooper Criswell has been Boston’s most trusted backup, and he’s proven why on a few occasions.

Criswell is a 27-year-old starter/reliever option who the Red Sox got from the Rays this winter. He made 10 relief appearances for Tampa Bay last season and pitched to a 5.73 ERA.

For a fringe option in Boston’s rotation, Criswell’s outings have been shockingly good — his ERA has only decreased in his three performances with the big-league club, and his third stint on the mound lowered the Sox’s starting pitcher ERA. Criswell has posted a 2.38 ERA over 11.1 innings. He’s fanned seven batters and walked two.

He isn’t a starter, but Zack Kelly played a role in Criswell’s shutout of the Guardians on April 24. The lefty has a 0.00 ERA in both Triple-A and the big leagues this season and he’s been electric in relief.

Even without their rotation’s full strength, the Red Sox’s depth options have helped maintain their pitching dominance this season, and it’s a testament to how quickly the outlook for Boston’s pitching as a whole has changed. For a rotation that was doomed at the beginning of the season in the wake of the loss of Giolito and the miss on Montgomery, the Red Sox have changed their fortunes astonishingly quickly.

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