Pomeranz is healthy and pitching for now

Cesar Crespo

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Isn't the "hatred" linked more to giving up Espinoza for him? If you give up The Next Great Starting Pitcher you have to be getting back a currently great one, right? Not just a pretty good, controllable, cheap but frequently injured and not clearly established one. Or so the thinking/kvetching goes.
Fair enough. I just expect this board to judge players on their own merits, not on something out of their control. Not to mention Anderson Espinoza started this year on the 7 day DL with forearm tightness and minor ankle discomfort. He should be good to come off the DL today and it was mostly precautionary. Sounds like Pomeranz opening the year on the DL with forearm issues.
 

shaggydog2000

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A currently great starting pitcher is worth a whole hell of a lot more than a could be great starting pitcher in A ball.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
it's like a slurve version of a cut slider - a Clurter?
We used to call it a slutter when Buchholz was in his transition phase from slider to cutter (which you can see clearly here, here, and here -- the system classifies it as a slider for all of 2009 and a cutter for all of 2010, but it sure looks like a gradual transition without a clear inflection point).
 

nvalvo

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We used to call it a slutter when Buchholz was in his transition phase from slider to cutter (which you can see clearly here, here, and here -- the system classifies it as a slider for all of 2009 and a cutter for all of 2010, but it sure looks like a gradual transition without a clear inflection point).
Do I remember correctly that the word "slutter" was coined by none other than Jonathan Papelbon?
 

iayork

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It will be interesting to see what happens with the cutter. That had been a pitch that was discussed last season as being important to his step forward, especially against righties. It looks like (per Brooks Baseball) he didn't use it at all yesterday.
He was really up and down with the cutter last year. If you look at his pitch usage last year game-by-game (chart from here), there were some days when he just didn't use his cutter ("FC") and others when he was all over it.


He was definitely using it less toward the end of the season, though.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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So, if I'm reading this box score right, Pom got 10 of 13 outs by way of the K, threw 103 pitches, and didn't make it out of the fifth?

Has anyone ever struck out 10 without making it out of the fifth, with no injury involved?

There's got to be some bad luck in there, right? How do you have good enough stuff to strike out 10, but you also give up 15 total bases in 13 outs?
 

soxhop411

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So, if I'm reading this box score right, Pom got 10 of 13 outs by way of the K, threw 103 pitches, and didn't make it out of the fifth?

Has anyone ever struck out 10 without making it out of the fifth, with no injury involved?

There's got to be some bad luck in there, right? How do you have good enough stuff to strike out 10, but you also give up 15 total bases in 13 outs?

In Red Sox history? No.

“@brianmacp: Drew Pomeranz today became the first pitcher in Red Sox history to strike out 10 but fail to get out of the fifth inning.”
 

iayork

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There's got to be some bad luck in there, right? How do you have good enough stuff to strike out 10, but you also give up 15 total bases in 13 outs?
There was definitely some bad luck. Pom made some beautiful pitches in the first that were called balls but that could equally well have been strikes, and ended up with some walks followed by a triple that Benitendi didn't get to but that JBJ would have had in his back pocket. He could easily have gotten out of the first with three quick outs and fifteen pitches instead of three runs and 35 pitches.
 

pantsparty

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Between the heat and a breeze blowing out, the ball really carried today. The pair of solo homeruns he gave up looked like routine flyouts off the bat, instead they ended up just a couple rows into the seats.
 

Cesar Crespo

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SSS, but Pomeranz has a 5.85% HR rate in Fenway since joining the Redsox. 171 batters faced. That has to normalize eventually.
 

107beers

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There was definitely some bad luck. Pom made some beautiful pitches in the first that were called balls but that could equally well have been strikes, and ended up with some walks followed by a triple that Benitendi didn't get to but that JBJ would have had in his back pocket. He could easily have gotten out of the first with three quick outs and fifteen pitches instead of three runs and 35 pitches.
Yes I agree the 35 pitch 1st inning was a demoralizing way to start off the game and from the graph I saw many of the called balls were ones that are often called strikes so I can see why pom was visibly upset at many calls since a pitcher of his skill set as needing to hit the corners would be frustrated. I'm not sure what to believe tho- is he really topping out at 96 since the stem cell injection and if so maybe he will be able to trust in his fastball more along with his changeup that has been used much less since he arrived in Boston last year. It's hard to really determine if this was a good or bad outing overall with 10 ks but also allowing 5 runs on 5 hits- including a triple and two homers. I'll cut him some slack on the triple tho as jbj and usually Beni for that matter would usually make that catch.
 

iayork

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There was definitely some bad luck. Pom made some beautiful pitches in the first that were called balls but that could equally well have been strikes
I charted out the first two at-bats with PITCHf/x data here. Only one clearly-wrong call by the umpire (Ted Barrett) but several that were exactly on the edge of the 2016 strike zone that could have gone either way.

There was some noise in spring training about wanting the strike zone to shrink a little, after years of consistent expansion. Barrett normally calls a slightly larger than average strike zone (table here) so seeing him squeeze a little makes me wonder if umpires have some new guidelines. Something to watch during the season.
 

uk_sox_fan

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Excellent perspective on what went on in the 1st yesterday. Kind of makes you think what a tough job it is umpiring when at bats that appear to be so poorly called when you watch live are actually justifiable.
 

nothumb

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Excellent perspective on what went on in the 1st yesterday. Kind of makes you think what a tough job it is umpiring when at bats that appear to be so poorly called when you watch live are actually justifiable.
Not everyone watching live thought Barrett was brutally wrong. Pom was also wild around the zone during those first few batters, sometimes missing his target badly on pitches near the edge of the zone that ended up being called balls. Which shouldn't matter, but we know it does.
 

uk_sox_fan

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I like how he battled back over the next 3 innings though. Did enough that when the somnolent bats eventually woke up there was still a game to be won.

(Ok they actually woke up in the bottom of the inning but the point is he kept it a game)
 

soxhop411

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And as we all expected, when Pomeranz throws his cutter (more often) he gets results

Jen McCaffrey‏ @jcmccaffrey 54m54 minutes ago
Re: Pomeranz increased cutter usage, tossed 13 tonight. Last start Baseball Savant logged 12 but PitchFx wasn't working early so likely more

Jen McCaffrey‏ @jcmccaffrey 54m54 minutes ago
Replying to @jcmccaffrey
Either way, it's apparent the increased cutter usage is helping him out in terms of diversifying his pitch mix

and his last two starts


Tim Britton‏ @TimBritton 32m32 minutes ago
Pomeranz's Performance: 7IP, 7H, 1ER, 0BB, 8K, WP, 108-72-16. He's in line for the win. Last two starts: 19K, 1BB, 34 swinging strikes.
 

pantsparty

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His cutter looks kinda lousy on its own (PITCHf/x value/100 of -2.39 edit: after last night it's up to -1.06), but it's good enough to make his fastball and curve better on his third trip through the lineup.
 
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Lose Remerswaal

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I have to admit that I enjoyed watching him last night. With an ump whose strike zone was prett erratic he kept getting swings on fast balls up out of the zone, and takes on curves that sliced thru the bottom of the zone.

Not sure how smart it was to bring him back out after a more than an hour rain delay, though . . .
 

uk_sox_fan

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I don't think it's that big of a deal. He probably was tossing medium-effort simulated innings every 20-30 min or so to keep loose. If he did that 2 or 3 times it was the equivalent of a 7 or 8 inning game with little to no stressful innings.

Sets us up beautifully for the back half of this series as Minn had to tax their pen and we used just Boyer and Abad. If the bats can knock Meiji out early tonight watch out.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Watched some bits of the game last night finally (first of the season....) and I really enjoyed watching Pom pitch. He's got some good movement on his pitches. When you see our "no.4 or "no. 5" pitch like he can like last evening it gets you pretty optimistic about the season and their playoff potential.
True... if EdRo can come back healthy and continue to pitch like he was and Price and Porcello can show the improvement of their last outings through the remainder of the season..... Pom will likely be a bullpen addition, but a very damned good one.
Where that would leave Fister is a nice question to have
 

Byrdbrain

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Dombrowski already stated that Fister could slide to the bullpen when EdRo comes back:
"This guy’s a good pitcher," Dombrowski said. "His stuff isn’t quite the same as it was in the past, but Eddie scouted him. I have a lot of faith in Eddie’s judgment and he said, ‘Dave, he may not be quite the same, but he can be an effective big-league starter for us.' If Eduardo comes back, we can also slide him to the bullpen at that point, and if he gives us depth at a very reasonable cost for me."

That may(finally) be the end of Abad with the Sox if it goes down.

Edit: Oops sorry about the derail.
 
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SouthernBoSox

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Back to Pomeranz.

Alot of people are going to site his new pitch mix, which includes his cutter and even a change up, but I really think the main difference is his ability to go arm side with the fastball. It's keeping righties off his inside fastball and curveball. To the start the season he had very little arm side control.

He looks like a completely different pitcher. He's essentially been the best starter on the team since the end of May.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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I don't think it's that big of a deal. He probably was tossing medium-effort simulated innings every 20-30 min or so to keep loose. If he did that 2 or 3 times it was the equivalent of a 7 or 8 inning game with little to no stressful innings.
Perhaps, but if that's what they did, why don't all teams do that?

You rarely see a SP return after a rain delay of an hour or more.
 

shaggydog2000

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Back to Pomeranz.

Alot of people are going to site his new pitch mix, which includes his cutter and even a change up, but I really think the main difference is his ability to go arm side with the fastball. It's keeping righties off his inside fastball and curveball. To the start the season he had very little arm side control.

He looks like a completely different pitcher. He's essentially been the best starter on the team since the end of May.
His control definitely seems to have improved this year. His k% of 26.7% is about what it was over the whole of last season, but it had dropped in his Red Sox starts after being very high in San Diego, so he looks a lot better to us compared to most of what we saw. His BB% is at a career low of 7.5%. His HR/FB rate is down as well compared to his Boston starts last season. We're starting to see the guy who was an all-star last year in San Diego, but with less walks. This is why the Sox didn't send him back last year when they had the chance. The San Diego version of him was really good. We just saw a different player here.
 

joe dokes

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Perhaps, but if that's what they did, why don't all teams do that?

You rarely see a SP return after a rain delay of an hour or more.
Here's how the participants described it:

Filling in for Sox manager John Farrell, who was serving a one-game suspension for his altercation with umpire Bill Miller earlier in the week, bench coach Gary DiSarcina had a tricky situation to manage.
He started the stopwatch as soon the tarp hit the ground, then kept a close eye as Pomeranz tried to stay warm during as the break stretched later and later into the night.
“He kept heat on his arm, rode the bike, played a little toss, kept his body warm,” DiSarcina said. “So it was very impressive. Usually 45 minutes and hour, it’s pretty close. You’re pushing it.”
The delay lasted an hour and 16 minutes. About 90 minutes passed between Pomeranz’s last pitch.
But when he got back on the mound, he was unfazed.
“If I would’ve felt like I was tight or anything at all, I probably would’ve come out,” Pomeranz said. “But I felt good, so I just tried to grind it out.”
http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/redsox/2017/06/27/red-sox-twins-game-resumes-after-minute-rain-delay/UWnKf6CjaOkIwXqoNrm7AO/story.html?event=event12
 

Cesar Crespo

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More a casual observation than anything backed up by fact, but Pomeranz seems to have a lot of his good starts cut short due to factors outside his control. Were it not for the weather, he would have had a great chance to pitch 6 innings in his 3rd consecutive start. In 5 of his last 7 starts, he has been far more efficient with his pitch counts.

The Espinoza trade looks better and better the more Pom pitches. I never got the hate. I guess if you consider Pom a #4 with no chance of ever being more than a #4 even though he just was last year. Anyway, over his last 8 games Pom is at a 2.66 era over 44ip, 44h, 4 HRA, 11bb/50k. HItters are slashing .257/.301/.357 on a .339 BAbip. 6.0% BB rate/27.3% K rate. Those 8 games also include a start where he gave up 8 hits and 5 er in 4.1ip.

Another really promising sign is that Pomeranz hasn't walked more than 3 batters in a game this season and he's only done that twice. People have already pointed out his career low BB rate but it seems to be consistent from game to game.

edit: Looking more into it, It was a trend in Boston last year as well. He only had one game last year where he walked more than 2. He walked 6. Excluding that game, Pom had 65k/18bb in 62.2 innings or a 6.8% BB rate. His career in Boston over 625 BF/146.2 ip, he's at 160k/49bb, a BB rate of 7.8% and a K rate of 25.6%. Prior to Boston, 10.1% BB/22.6% K rate.
 
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Niastri

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More a casual observation than anything backed up by fact, but Pomeranz seems to have a lot of his good starts cut short due to factors outside his control. Were it not for the weather, he would have had a great chance to pitch 6 innings in his 3rd consecutive start. In 5 of his last 7 starts, he has been far more efficient with his pitch counts.

The Espinoza trade looks better and better the more Pom pitches. I never got the hate. I guess if you consider Pom a #4 with no chance of ever being more than a #4 even though he just was last year. Anyway, over his last 8 games Pom is at a 2.66 era over 44ip, 44h, 4 HRA, 11bb/50k. HItters are slashing .257/.301/.357 on a .339 BAbip. 6.0% BB rate/27.3% K rate. Those 8 games also include a start where he gave up 8 hits and 5 er in 4.1ip.

Another really promising sign is that Pomeranz hasn't walked more than 3 batters in a game this season and he's only done that twice. People have already pointed out his career low BB rate but it seems to be consistent from game to game.

edit: Looking more into it, It was a trend in Boston last year as well. He only had one game last year where he walked more than 2. He walked 6. Excluding that game, Pom had 65k/18bb in 62.2 innings or a 6.8% BB rate. His career in Boston over 625 BF/146.2 ip, he's at 160k/49bb, a BB rate of 7.8% and a K rate of 25.6%. Prior to Boston, 10.1% BB/22.6% K rate.
How statistically important are those strikeout and walk numbers?

Does increasing your strikeouts by 3% of batters faced really make you a different pitcher? That comes out to being one batter every three games that is an out rather than a ball in play, a walk or a homer... How important is that actually?

Edit: typo
 
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pokey_reese

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How statistically important are those strikeout and walk numbers?

Does increasing your strikeouts by 3% of batters faced really make you a different pitcher? That comes out to being one batter every three games that is an out rather than a ball in play, a walk or a homer... How important is that actually?

Edit: typo
It may not be a huge number of additional outs in a vacuum, but he also has the lowest contact rate of his career and is throwing fewer balls, so presumably he is not just finishing ABs that way, but is ahead in the count more, which likely leads to better results on balls in play, as well.
 
How statistically important are those strikeout and walk numbers?

Does increasing your strikeouts by 3% of batters faced really make you a different pitcher? That comes out to being one batter every three games that is an out rather than a ball in play, a walk or a homer... How important is that actually?

Edit: typo
Looking at qualified starters from the 2016 season I get a (linear) regression where ERA- is 141 for a 0% strikeout rate and drops by 2.3 points for every 1% increment in strikeout rate.

So on that quick and dirty analysis a 3% increase in strikeout rate would give you a 7 point improvement in ERA-

For a Red Sox pitcher, that's about a 0.30 reduction in ERA, the difference between 2016 Pomeranz and 2016 Buchholz or about half the difference between 2016 Wright and 2016 Price.

There are a bunch of assumptions in this analysis, but I think for a quick back of the envelope calculation it's ok.
 
Looking at qualified starters from the 2016 season I get a (linear) regression where ERA- is 141 for a 0% strikeout rate and drops by 2.3 points for every 1% increment in strikeout rate.

So on that quick and dirty analysis a 3% increase in strikeout rate would give you a 7 point improvement in ERA-

For a Red Sox pitcher, that's about a 0.30 reduction in ERA, the difference between 2016 Pomeranz and 2016 Buchholz or about half the difference between 2016 Wright and 2016 Price.

There are a bunch of assumptions in this analysis, but I think for a quick back of the envelope calculation it's ok.
FWIW, R^2 on that was 0.27.

Running the same analysis on K%-BB% gives a 2.2 point improvement in ERA- for every 1% increase in K%-BB% (R^2 = 0.31 & eyeballing the graph (which I'm sorry I don't know how to post easily) the linear assumption more obviously holds this time, though it looks OK the first time too).

So Pomeranz's 5.3% improvement in K%-BB% implies an expected 12 point drop in ERA-, which is really the level of "yeah that's a decent chunk of value".

Change the ERA- to FIP- and things look even better. A 2.6 point improvement in ERA- for every 1% (R^2 0.62). Though obviously since FIP is largely based on K% and BB%, you'd expect exactly that which is why I went with ERA- in the first place.
 

pokey_reese

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R^2 of 0.3 is hardly any correlation, even if it "looks ok"
...and that's why you rarely stop after using a single predictor and simple linear regression. But, we do know that K and BB rates are considered among the best predictors of the 'advanced' pitching metrics that include many more variables, so in more robust models they certainly don't lose significance, even if the coefficients change and their individual responsibility for variance may shift. It likely wouldn't be hard to get a sense of the magnitude without actually re-modeling ERA- by just reading about what some of the guys at Fangraphs/Hardball Times/BP have found.
 

Cesar Crespo

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How statistically important are those strikeout and walk numbers?

Does increasing your strikeouts by 3% of batters faced really make you a different pitcher? That comes out to being one batter every three games that is an out rather than a ball in play, a walk or a homer... How important is that actually?

Edit: typo
He also decreased his walks, so it's 1 less walk every 3 games as well. I'd guess it's as simple as 1% increase in K's = 1% importance and 1% decrease in BB = <1% importance.

edit: I know it's not that easy. But a 5% difference in overall performance seems about right.
 
R^2 of 0.3 is hardly any correlation, even if it "looks ok"
It is what it is. When you're predicting one single baseball stat off another single baseball stat 0.3 is completely reasonable. To put that number in context, the Rsq means the correlation is just over 0.50. By comparison, correlation of AVG from one year to the next is lower than that (0.427 per Fangraphs) while SLG is higher (0.605). This isn't a great relationship but in this context it's absolutely not a terrible one either.

Yes, the margin of error around the estimate of a 0.30 ERA improvement is chunky. Guess what? So is pretty much every other baseball projection.

Like I said, it's a back of the envelope calculation and it doesn't seem like an outrageously silly number for that kind of improvement in strikeout rate.

FWIW, the "it looks ok" was to do with the linearity assumption rather than anything else.
 

Plympton91

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A .3 R2 in a cross sectional regression is actually quite good. Real world Economic policies are based on far smaller numbers.
 

SouthernBoSox

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Simply put, if the Red Sox started a playoff series next week, Drew Pomeranz would be their second starter.

That's pretty remarkable given the guy could only throw a glove side fastball and drop in a curve just a couple months ago
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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DD's 3 big trades have anchored this Sox team. Granted, his other 2 have done zilch.... but Sale, Pom and. Kimbrell have far outweighed those two flops
 

Byrdbrain

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Two pitchers in MLB have 14 starts giving up 2 ERs or less, Pom and some guy named Kershaw. He wasn't all that great yesterday and he may not be all that fun to watch but the results have been solid.
Playoffs start tomorrow and Pom might be the 4th starter just due to longevity/reputation but he has been the second best pitcher on the team to this point.
 

BigChara33

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Two pitchers in MLB have 14 starts giving up 2 ERs or less, Pom and some guy named Kershaw. He wasn't all that great yesterday and he may not be all that fun to watch but the results have been solid.
Playoffs start tomorrow and Pom might be the 4th starter just due to longevity/reputation but he has been the second best pitcher on the team to this point.
4th starter?

Sale
Price
Pom
Porcello/Erod?

Or in a 5 game series...

Sale
Price
Pom
Sale/Bullpen
Price/Bullpen

Sign Neshak and we could do a Sale/Bullpen, Price/Bullpen, Sale/Bullpen, Price/Bullpen, Sale/Bullpen rotation. Have sale/price pitch 3-5 innings, let the bullpen take over and then pitch them on 2-3 days rest.

It could work...
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Sign Neshak and we could do a Sale/Bullpen, Price/Bullpen, Sale/Bullpen, Price/Bullpen, Sale/Bullpen rotation. Have sale/price pitch 3-5 innings, let the bullpen take over and then pitch them on 2-3 days rest.
Why on earth would you want to do this? Rotation depth is one of our strengths; why not use it? There are teams that have better #2s than Price, but very few playoff contenders in the AL, if any, that should have less reason to worry about their Game 4 starter than the Sox are likely to.
 

DJnVa

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This is why the Sox didn't send him back last year when they had the chance. The San Diego version of him was really good. We just saw a different player here.
But we're *almost* seeing the same pitcher this year. It's interesting that his WHIP is essentially unchanged from his time here last year--he is just giving up fewer HRs and K'ing more. Which, of course, is key. Teams are slugging 70 points lower this year. XBH % from 10% to 7% even though his LD% is up this year.
 

shaggydog2000

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But we're *almost* seeing the same pitcher this year. It's interesting that his WHIP is essentially unchanged from his time here last year--he is just giving up fewer HRs and K'ing more. Which, of course, is key. Teams are slugging 70 points lower this year. XBH % from 10% to 7% even though his LD% is up this year.
Yes, I think the player we saw here last year was injured, but just a short-term injury not a permanently impairing level injury. He is much closer to that all-star level player than he is to a 4th or 5th starter.
 

Rasputin

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Why on earth would you want to do this? Rotation depth is one of our strengths; why not use it? There are teams that have better #2s than Price, but very few playoff contenders in the AL, if any, that should have less reason to worry about their Game 4 starter than the Sox are likely to.
Along these lines, I remember a brief discussion before the season a few years back about how we could have an entire rotation with an ERA+ of 100 or better.

Currently we're at 168, 131, 128, 119, 97 which means we're only a few good Eduardo Rodriguez starts away from actually having a 100 ERA+ rotation but we also have one of the few bona fide aces in the game to top it off.

This is not a team you'd want to face in a short series. Assuming a straight four man rotation, the Sox would have the better starter in games 1, 4, 5 against almost anyone and in 2 and 3 against a lot of teams. If we get a difference making arm at the deadline and Pomeranz moves to the pen for the playoffs, we might be able to go through the entire playoffs without being scared of the guy coming in. That doesn't mean you win, of course, but Curtis fucking Leskanic, you know what I mean?
 

uk_sox_fan

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Pomeranz has Boston's 4th highest projected WAR for the rest of the year by ZiPS (1.3) which is higher than the #1 starter (hard to call them 'aces') on 8 teams (Oak, Col, Atl, Mia, Min, LAA, SDP and Cin) and the same as 3 more (Sea, Pit and Mil).

Steamer projects him for 1.0 WAR, but that's still higher than 5 teams' best (Bal, Mia, LAA, SDP and Cin) and the same as 4 others (KCR, Min, Mil and Col).