Red Sox

How Red Sox will tie a 77-year-old record vs. Yankees tonight

Red Sox
Kutter Crawford

How thin is the Boston Red Sox' rotation?

Unless you're an octogenarian, you haven't seen a group of starting pitchers like this in your lifetime.

The Red Sox will send rookie Kutter Crawford to the mound Saturday night against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. Crawford will be the fourth consecutive rookie pitcher to start a game for Boston, marking the franchise's longest streak of rookie starters since 1945.

On one hand, that streak is a sign that the Red Sox have some impressive arm talent in the minor leagues; Brayan Bello, 23, is the organization's most highly-touted pitching prospect since Clay Buchholz, while Josh Winckowski, 23, boasted a 3.12 ERA through five starts before the Yankees touched him for six runs on Thursday night.

Jon Lester shares positive take on Brayan Bello's rough debut

But it's also a sign that Boston is seriously lacking pitching depth. With four members of their five-man Opening Day rotation on the injured list (Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, Rich Hill and Michael Wacha), the Red Sox have been forced to thrust their young arms into action.

Results have been mixed, too: Boston lost all three of those games with Bello, Winckowski and Connor Seabold on the mound, and each member of that trio has an ERA north of 5.00.

Simply put, it's hard to win games when you're rolling out rookie pitchers every night, which is why such streaks rarely happen on good teams. The 1945 Red Sox finished that season 71-83 with several of their top players (including Ted Williams) away from the team while serving in World War II.


The good news for the 2022 Red Sox is that reinforcements are on the way. Sale is set to make his season debut Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays, while Eovaldi is scheduled to throw three rehab innings Sunday for Triple-A Worcester.

Boston is firmly in the Wild Card race but now sits 16 games back of the Yankees after going 3-7 in its last 10 games. That's partly due to the lack of depth in a rotation that has been stretched to a historic degree over the past week.