Red Sox

Red Sox rotation off to worst start to the season in franchise history

chris_sale.jpg
File photo

Red Sox rotation off to worst start to the season in franchise history

Yes, it's true: this is the worst start to a season by a Red Sox rotation. Ever.

After another mediocre outing from erstwhile ace Chris Sale that had the left-hander apologizing for embarrassing his family and teammates in an 8-0 loss to New York on Tuesday, the Red Sox found themselves holding a dubious distinction.

Per the Elias Sports Bureau, no Red Sox rotation has ever posted a higher ERA through 18 games than this one. The 7.18 mark tops the 1931 team, which posted a 6.96 ERA en route to a 62-90 finish, 45 games behind the AL-champion A's.

If you've heard of any of the pitchers on that team, you're a bigger fan than most of us. Nine pitchers made starts in 1931, led by Somerville High's Danny McFayden (16-12, 4.02), Jack Russell (10-18, 5.16), Wilcy Moore (11-13, 3.88), and Milt Gaston (2-13, 4.46).

Those pitchers combined to make one All-Star team over 49 combined seasons. This Red Sox rotation features two Cy Young Award winners (Rick Porcello, David Price), one perennial Cy Young candidate (Sale), and the 2018 postseason hero (Nathan Eovaldi).

They've won two Cy Youngs, finished in the top six 10 other times, made 12 All-Star teams, and contributed to a championship. Their pedigree is just a *little* better than their 1931 brethren, and yet they find themselves with just two wins (1 each for Eduardo Rodriguez and Price) and three quality starts (aforementioned duo and Sale).

Sale has only topped four strikeouts once in four starts, while Eovaldi has yet to pitch more than five innings, and Porcello has yet to reach five innings.

Price and E-Rod are coming off of good starts, and Sale finally pumped his velocity back up to 97 mph on Tuesday, so perhaps the tide is starting to turn, but for now, it's no stretch to label this rotation historically awful.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Christian Vazquez hits first career grand slam, 20th home run of 2019

Christian Vazquez hits first career grand slam, 20th home run of 2019

Christian Vazquez's career year at the plate continued Sunday, hitting his first career grand slam against the Phillies. 

It was also the 20th home run of the year for the fifth-year catcher, blowing away his former career-high in home runs (five in 2017).

Vazquez holds career highs in virtually every offensive category, which has earned him the regular starting job behind the plate as opposed to sharing time with Sandy Leon. 

His resurgence has also helped the Red Sox maintain an elite level of production offensively from last year's dominant World Series run.  Unfortunately subpar pitching will keep the team from returning to the playoffs, but if Vazquez can build off this season there's no reason to believe this lineup can't continue into 2020.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Alex Cora: Eduardo Rodriguez has been "throwing like an ace" all season

Alex Cora: Eduardo Rodriguez has been "throwing like an ace" all season

After another superb outing against the Phillies Saturday night, Eduardo Rodriguez earned high praise from his manager Alex Cora. 

"He’s throwing like an ace," Cora said on NESN postgame. "We’re very happy with the progress. The fact that it’s Sept. 14, 15, and he’s as strong as early in the season. That’s good to see.”

Rodriguez didn't secure his 18th win of the year thanks to a seventh-inning walk with the bases loaded, but that doesn't take away from a 12-strikeout performance.

Rodriguez now has a 3.64 ERA in over 185 innings pitched. The Sox need Rodriguez to come into his own if they hope to stay in contention long term, and he continues to show progress toward reaching his potential. 

Rodriguez still has a chance to get to 20 wins, but he'll have to win each of the three starts he has left in 2019. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.