Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (April 29, 2018 – Source: Jim Rogash/Getty Images North America)
After a torrid hot start, the Boston Red Sox came crashing back down to Earth this past week. While it wasn’t a perfect week by any means, the Red Sox still boast the top spot in the AL East as the month of April winds down. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the in between in the Boston Red Sox Week Five recap.
Boston Red Sox Week Five Recap: The Good
After just over two weeks on the disabled list, the Red Sox finally got their star shortstop back into the lineup. While Brock Holt performed admirably in relief of Bogaerts, the team severely missed the young shortstops bat and all around skill.
Bogaerts was the hottest hitter on the team prior to his injury, and he picked up right where he left off. In his first game back against the Tampa Bay Rays, Bogaerts went 3-4 with a double. Bogaerts adds a much needed spark to this lineup, and there’s no overstating how happy the Red Sox are to have him back.
Procello has developed into the ace of a pitching staff that includes Chris Sale and David Price. Good for him. In a rough week for the starting pitchers, Porcello was undoubtedly the bright spot. In two starts, Porcello went a combined 14.2 innings, allowing six runs while striking out 15 and walking only three.
While those numbers are great on their own, they’re even better when given context. All three of Porcello’s allowed runs came on balls that never left the infield. Honestly, poor fielding was to blame for at least two of those three. And against the Rays, one of his three runs was due to a terrible defensive play by Eduardo Nunez.
In all, Porcello currently own a 38/4 K/BB ratio to go along with a 2.31 ERA on the season. After the seasons first month, Porcello is in the thick of the Cy Young race. If he can keep this up, he should lead one of the best rotations in all of baseball.
Pomeranz’ second rehab start of the season didn’t go much better than his first. Facing the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, Pomeranz went just five innings, allowing four earned runs and three homers. So far, Pomeranz has allowed seven earned runs in just 8.2 innings, good for an ugly 7.27 ERA.
However, not all hope is lost for Pomeranz. The southpaw suffered an injury in spring training, forcing him to start the season late. A slow start was expected, albeit not this slow. Additionally, as discussed on the Red Sox Unfiltered Podcast, it took Pomeranz a while last year before emerging as the teams second best pitcher. Patience is probably the best course of action with Pomeranz.
This has been a long time coming for the utility infielder. Entering the season, Nunez looked to be a perfect fit for this Red Sox squad. Dustin Pedroia was injured, and the Red Sox needed a temporary second baseman until Pedroia was ready to return to action. Nunez performed well last season with the Sox, and it seemed to be a match made in heaven.
Put simply, Nunez hasn’t had his best season, offensively or defensively. Nunez’ bat lacks the pop of 2017, as he’s currently batting just .239/.278/.390. However, the biggest issue with him has easily been his subpar defense.
Nunez is a defensive downgrade on Pedroia, everybody knew that entering the season. However, nobody expected Nunez to be this much of a defensive liability. Just about every game, Nunez misses one or two plays that Pedroia makes easily. More often than not, these mistakes lead to runs. His most embarrassing play came this past Saturday, when he tripped over his own feet while trying to complete a relay.
Advanced metrics agree with this assessment of Nunez. According to Fangraphs, Nunez currently boasts a -0.4 UZR, which is a terrible number for this early in the season. For those who don’t know, UZR, or Ultimate Zone Rating, essentially measures how much better or worse a player is compared to league average. Essentially, it’s the defensive equivalent of the wRC+ stat.
With Bogaerts back from injury, Nunez’ time as a starter may be coming to an end. Holt is on the DL, but Tzu-Wei Lin has played well when given opportunity. He’s a clear defensive upgrade on Nunez, and his bat has been better. It might be time to use Lin at second until Pedroia returns.
After a painfully slow start to the season, the longtime do-everything player caught fire in the last few weeks. In his previous ten games, Holt his .436 with one homer and six doubles. While the offense as a whole went cold, Holt was often single-handedly keeping the Red Sox in several contests over the past week. Frankly, this version of Brock Holt hasn’t been seen since 2015.
The reason he’s not in the good category is because of his injury. In the series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays, Holt pulled his hamstring while running into second. The oft-injured infielder was sent to the Dl, and will be shelved for at least ten games. It’s a rough break for Holt, who was in the midst of his best baseball in two years.