It was a rough weekend for the Red Sox, in more ways than one.
Photo Credit: Delaney Gardner
Last week had the making of an important momentum builder, as the Red Sox swept a three game set with the lowly Kansas City Royals and then had a four game home series with the Tampa Bay Rays. Rather than taking advantage of the home games, the Sox dropped 3 of 4 and concluded the week at a mere one game over .500.
The results were poor, but it’s possible they were attributed to equally poor planning. Ryan Weber started on Tuesday against the Royals, and was ultimately sent down to Pawtucket after a second consecutive sub-par outing. In the meantime, the Red Sox added prospect Mike Shawaryn to the active roster. As a starting pitcher, it seemed like he’d slide into the first game of the doubleheader against the Rays; however plans changed.
Shawaryn made his MLB debut on Friday night, in a relief appearance. By all accounts, it wasn’t the ideal spot for a starter to make his debut, but it could have served as a bullpen, or tune up for his first start during the following week. However, the Red Sox subsequently sent the rookie back out on Saturday to eat up innings – ruling that possibility out for Tuesday.
Alex Cora and the Red Sox let their starting pitcher sit from May 30th, until June 7th which led to a relief appearance for Shawaryn and a Josh Smith start against the second place team in the AL East. Smith, a career minor leaguer with a MLB ERA of 5.39, was predictably mediocre and garnered a loss. A missed opportunity for a club that hasn’t had much break in their favor this season.
Looking ahead, the Red Sox have a rotation void to fill on Tuesday. In the middle of a series against the Texas Rangers, a team that currently holds the second Wild Card spot, the Sox will have to scramble to fill the open spot. Ryan Weber can’t be recalled, as he hasn’t spent 10 days in the minors, Josh Smith just started and Mike Shawaryn threw in relief on Saturday. As of now, this leaves Darwinzon Hernandez as the favorite for the spot starter.
Yes, Hernandez has been in Boston this season, but solely as a reliever. He has MLB readiness out of the bullpen, but has yet to string together consistency as a starter in Portland. The left handed prospect has plenty of promise, but has posted a 5.13 ERA with the Sea Dogs and has been plagued by control problems – he’s walked less than 3 batters just once this season.
While it’s certainly possible that Darwinzon Hernandez may get the start, and succeed, the Red Sox must be calculated in their decisions. At this point, they have largely failed to do so and it’s plagued them in 2019.