The Boston Red Sox hit the free agent market hard this off-season, signing the 5-time All-Star David Price. Their front office was not done, when they made a blockbuster trade for flame-throwing closer, Craig Kimbrel. The Red Sox shelled out an absurd amount of money to acquire both these players. Unfortunately for Red Sox Nation, it has not worked out. The $200 million dollar man, David Price, has struggled out of the gates, putting up an abysmal 7.06 ERA. Along with Price, comes Kimbrel who has taken over the 9th inning role from Koji Uehara. Kimbrel’s problems have fans doubting his ability to close out games. So is it time for Red Sox Nation to start panicking?
Come on people, have some faith. Let’s start with David Price. I understand that Price is getting paid $31 million per year and has not lived up to any of our expectations. When Price steps on the mound, fans expect to see the Cy Young Award winning pitcher. Recently, we have seen a shell of that. But it’s early; in fact it is way too early to be concerned. On April 22nd 2015, Price pitched in a game against the New York Yankees, in which he could only go 2.1 innings and gave up 8 earned runs. Just one year later on April 21st 2016, Price was rocked for 8 earned runs in just 3.1 innings. Are you guys catching my drift? Price doesn’t pitch well during April. He’s typically slow out of the gates and needs time to find himself throughout the season. After his performance against the Yankees in 2015, Price went on to record ERA’s of 2.49, 2.02, 2.25, 2.28, and 2.32 in the months of May, June, July, August, and September respectively. Price is going to be okay, and his slow start will be a thing of the past.
Up next on the list of concerns comes Craig Kimbrel. Unfortunately, I am not as confident in Kimbrel as I am with Price. Yes, it is early like I stated previously, but what concerns me is his downward trend in statistics. Last year with the San Diego Padres, Kimbrel’s ERA shot up from 1.61 in 2014 to 2.58 in 2015. ERA is not my only concern either. Kimbrel’s location on most of his pitches has been sporadic. In his 9 innings on the mound for the Red Sox, Kimbrel has walked 5 batters. Yes, again I understand that this is a small sample size, but Kimbrel has always been known to have great control. In his 6 year career, Kimbrel’s Walks per 9 Innings has never exceeded 3.8, this year it is at 5. It also seems that Kimbrel is getting behind in many counts. This allows batters to sit in and expect fastball. When Kimbrel is at his best, he is throwing his fastball for strikes and then putting the hitter away with his sharp slider. Kimbrel’s stuff is still there. He is consistently reaching 99 MPH on his fastball and his slider is absolutely filthy, but that doesn’t matter in the Major Leagues if you cannot locate your pitches. Kimbrel is still one of the best closers in the game, but he needs to turn things around quick if he wants Red Sox Nation to stand behind him.
Here in Boston we jump to many conclusions. If the Patriots lose, Brady needs to be traded. Or if the Red Sox lose a big series against the Yankees, then the coach needs to be fired. The passion for our sports teams is uncanny, but let’s just take a deep breath and buckle in, because this season has barely taken off.