We’re not even past the first week of May and already the Boston Red Sox are pushing the panic button by firing pitching coach Juan Nieves.
The Sox began the season winning 7 of their first 10 games, but have gone 6-12 since. They are 1-5 so far in May which includes a three game sweep by the first place New York Yankees at Fenway last weekend. The Sox are currently in last place in the AL East, but only four games back of the Yankees.
The Red Sox do have the worst ERA in the AL. The only starting pitcher with an ERA below 5.00 is Rick Porcello who was acquired in an off-season trade with the Tigers for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Free agent signing Justin Masterson and Wade Miley, acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks, have been disappointments as have Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz. The Sox want to trade for Philadelphia Phillies lefty Cole Hamels. But why would Hamels want to go from one last place team to another?
The bullpen has been slightly better although the Sox did designate Edward Mujica for assignment. Mujica had been occasionally used as the Sox’s closer in the absence of Koji Uehara who has been good as usual. But when your best reliever is 40 it is a sign that your bullpen isn’t very deep.
Nieves was hired prior to the 2013 season when the Sox went from worst to first to win the World Series. But last season they went to worst again and now they’re afraid of going there again for the third time in four seasons. No replacement has been named at this point. Will manager John Farrell, who previously served as the team’s pitching coach under Terry Francona, pull double duty?
The Sox do have pitching problems, but I don’t think firing Nieves fixes it.
The Red Sox will embark on a 10-game road trip beginning tomorrow night in Toronto before flying out to the West Coast to play the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners. West coast trips are usually not good for east coast teams. I don’t see things improving for the Sox in the next two weeks.
Although I don’t the Sox feel quite as deflated as Tom Brady does.
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