After yesterday's late 7-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics, the Boston Red Sox are suddenly 1-4. That's uncharacteristic for the defending champions, who had high expectations to repeat as World Series champions this year. So what has gone wrong so far for the Red Sox?
Pitching has not been a strong suit for Boston so far. Their team ERA is 7.24, 28th in MLB. Opponents are batting .291 against Boston pitchers, tied for 26th in MLB. But the real story can be told in the rotation's ineptitude. An MLB-worst ERA of 11.14, highlighted by Chris Sale's poor Opening Day start against Seattle, has been the case for Boston so far. Boston starters have walked 13 batters, tied for third-most in MLB, and have allowed an OBP of .420 (blazing!), worst in baseball. Boston starters have also allowed 11 homers this season, worst in the majors, along with an MLB-worst WHIP of 2.19. Alex Cora worked his starters lightly in Spring Training, and it seems to show in the team's early run.
The rotation's strength was the key to Boston winning 108 games en route to a World Series title last year. If the Red Sox are to return to World Series form, it starts with Chris Sale rebounding from his mundane Opening Day start. The other starters must follow suit and regain control of their stuff. Otherwise, it'll be a long season for the champs.
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