Red Sox

Drellich: Pomeranz is most underappreciated member of 2017 Red Sox

Drellich: Pomeranz is most underappreciated member of 2017 Red Sox

BOSTON — Yes, people have started to recognize and realize that Drew Pomeranz has had a very strong season. That he’s excelled at a time when the Red Sox really need him. 

First, there were injuries to Eduardo Rodriguez, and next, to David Price. Nearly every time out, Pomeranz looks reliable. With strikeout stuff to boot.

But the lefty still has to be the title-holder. He’s the most under appreciated member of the 2017 Red Sox.

Who else could it be? Tzu-Wei Lin might have gotten more public praise during his cup of coffee in the big leagues than Pomeranz.

The 3.39 ERA Pomeranz carries after Saturday’s 10-5 win over the Yankees is coincidentally the same mark Price had in his final 28 starts of last season, and Price was a huge piece once mid-May passed last year. 

Going into Saturday’s 6 2/3 innings of three-run ball, Pomeranz had some really impressive statistical company inside of this season, as well.

Andrew Benintendi’s two home runs in a huge game at Yankee Stadium stole the show Saturday, rightfully. But Pomeranz’s excellence has been steady.

He started the day at 2.4 wins above replacement, per FanGraphs' calculation. That placed him 29th in the majors among starters. The 30th ranked pitcher was Jose Quintana, the lefty whom the White Sox moved to the Cubs in a big July trade. Quintana had 2.3 WAR. 

The 28th best pitcher, also at 2.4 WAR, was Justin Verlander. 

At No. 26, with 2.5 WAR, was Jon Lester.

Wins above replacement is just one measurement of performance. Pomeranz isn’t exactly Lester, no. 

But Big Smooth, as Pomeranz has been nicknamed, has made himself into the team’s No. 2 starter. His health, and the training staff and doctors that helped him get healthy, deserve a lot of credit.

So too does Pomeranz’s cutter, which is getting whiffs on 36 percent of swings, per BrooksBaseball.net's numbers entering Saturday. That’s 10 percentage points better than last year, the season Pomeranz introduced that cutter. His changeup’s also faring very well.

"I think it's different [compared to San Deigo],” Pomeranz told reporters at Yankee Stadium Saturday. “I feel better. I was one-dimensional at times when I was over there. I had a good curveball and a good glove-side fastball. Now I think I've developed a lot of things to help me win games and help me make pitches against these guys.”

Pomeranz has a higher groundball rate than both Rick Porcello and Chris Sale. Pomeranz has also done a good job stranding runners.

“The one thing that Drew has done, he’s kept us in a lot of ballgames because he’s found a way to navigate when there’s been men on base,” Sox manager John Farrell said Saturday.

A little luck can be involved there. But there’s no luck when it comes to a strikeout rate above 9 per nine innings.

So give it up for Pomeranz — and for the Red Sox front office that traded for him with an eye on what he could do for the team in the future, not just in 2016. They traded for an All-Star, and they got one this year.

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.

A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal... 

...And another from MLB Network and FanRagSports.com's Jon Heyman...

have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. 

Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora. 

A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said. 

Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.

Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday. 

 

Could Nationals' interest in Cora mess with Red Sox' plans?

Could Nationals' interest in Cora mess with Red Sox' plans?

The Washington Nationals will ask to speak to Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora after the ALCS, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported, which could throw a wrench into the Red Sox' plans to name Cora their manager.

The Sox appeared close to naming Cora to replace John Farrell after the Astros season is finished, NBC Sports Boston Red Sox Insider Evan Drellich reported earlier this week. Then the Nats decided to part ways with manager Dusty Baker after consecutive N.L. East titles but Division Series flameouts.

Cora, 41, as Cafardo points out, was once offered a player development job with the Nats, who were the last team he played for (2011) in his 14-plus years as a major league infielder, including 2005-08 with the Red Sox. 

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo obviously has a fondness for Cora, telling MLB.com in 2011:

"I think it comes natural to him to be a teacher. Alex still has a lot left in his tank as a player. But he has my number, and when he’s done playing, he can make a call. It will be well-received."

After interviewing Cora, ex-Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and Ron Gardenhire, who took the Tigers job this week, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told WEEI.com that he was still "undecided" if he'll interview anyone else.