The Boston Red Sox have begun Spring Training at Fenway South, and the questions we have been wondering for months are starting to get answered. The Red Sox open up their Spring Training slate on Thursday against the Twins at JetBlue Park.
One of the biggest unknowns with Boston in 2022 is the back end of the rotation. The front portion of the staff is led by Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi. Nick Pivetta will fit into the middle of the rotation, but then the questions start to arise.
Opening Day Starter: Chris Sale
Even though Chris Sale did not have much success in October of last year, it does not mean that he has lost the starting rotation. Sale will start on Opening Day because of what he has done during his time in the show.
I am not particularly high on Sale’s ability to be the guy down the stretch for the Red Sox, but there is no doubt Cora will give him the ball on Opening Day. Sale made the All-Star Game every season from 2012 through 2018, but then Tommy John surgery derailed his success.
He went 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA in 2019, missed the entire 2020 season, and then returned in the back half of 2021. Sale went 5-1 last season over 42.4 innings with a 3.16 ERA, but he did not deliver in his two playoff starts.
Playoff Nate: Nathan Eovaldi
If it was not for Nathan Eovaldi, the Red Sox would have struggled to make it out of the Wild Card Game. Boston’s offense was the reason the team had late season success, but Eovaldi commanded the zone in the biggest spots.
Eovaldi went 5.1 innings in the Wild Card Game against the Yankees, earning the win with a 1.69 ERA. The wheels started to fall off in the ALCS against Houston, but Red Sox Nation felt a sense of comfort with Eovaldi on the hill.
The pitcher is coming off his first All-Star Game appearance, so look for him to carry this momentum into 2022. It will not be surprising to see Eovaldi be more consistent over 162 than Sale.
The Middleman: Nick Pivetta
Nick Pivetta is in his second full season with the Red Sox, and he is expected to contribute in a major way. Pivetta was 9-8 with a 4.53 ERA last season, but he came up big when Boston needed a successful start.
The one positive for Pivetta last season was his ability to take on innings. With Sale out for the majority of 2021, Pivetta was forced to take on a larger workload. He threw 168.2 innings, which was his highest number since 2019 when he pitched 93.2 frames.
He only threw 30.2 innings in the shortened 2020 season. Pivetta is in his baseball prime at 28 years old, so look for him to have a big season.