Stat of the day: After his latest adventure
against the Rays this afternoon, Mariano Rivera has now allowed an un
Rivera-like nine runs this season after yielding 11 all of last season.
Of course, it’s well-documented that he’s already served up five
homers in just 23 1/3 innings this season. That’s the most he’s allowed
in a season since 2001 — but, of course, that was over the course of
80 2/3 innings. Pretty alarming, no? Following offseason shoulder
surgery, there were some early and obvious concerns about his velocity,
however he was throwing his cutter at about 93 MPH this week, pretty
much where it was before the procedure.
Bad outings from relievers tend to inflate statistics — and after
his last blowup against the Rays on May 7, giving up back-to-back
homers for the first time in his career, Rivera had a season-high 3.97
ERA. But since then, Rivera had allowed just one run over his last 11
1/3 innings pitched, including five consecutive scoreless appearances
leading into Saturday. He entered today’s game with a 2.38 ERA, the
lowest it’s been since April. Also, his trademark control remains
intact, with a 28/2 K/BB ratio thus far.
Yeah, I know, the sports-talk radio folk are gonna say Rivera just
isn’t the same pitcher. And maybe he isn’t. It makes for great drama,
especially when a fanbase has been spoiled for this long. But in a
bullpen full of Tomko’s, Robertson’s and Coke’s, Rivera is the least of
Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.
After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.
Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.
Earlier, we learned via Tuesday’s report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that Red Sox manager John Farrell could find himself on the hot seat given the team’s slow start and a couple of incidents with Dustin Pedroia and Drew Pomeranz.
Tim Britton of the Providence Journal spoke to Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who gave Farrell a vote of confidence. Dombrowski said, “We all have our pluses and minuses. But when I see some of the things we’ve talked about, I don’t know how you say that’s John Farrell’s fault. It’s not his fault that we’ve scuffled to pitch in the fifth spot with [Kyle] Kendrick and [Hector] Velazquez. The injury factors. Really in many ways, I tip my hat to our guys, led by John, that we’re in the position that we’re in right now. We’re three and a half out on May 24. There’s a long time to go. We haven’t gotten buried.”
Dombrowski added, “He’s our manager. He’s done fine. If I didn’t think that, then he wouldn’t be in his role.”
Farrell is signed through 2018 as the Red Sox exercised his ’18 option in December. That doesn’t mean the Red Sox can’t let him go, but given the lack of realistic options to step in and fill Farrell’s shoes and Dombrowski’s vote of confidence, it looks like the skipper has job security for now.