The Red Sox acquired Drew Pomeranz during the 2016 MLB All-Star break from the San Diego Padres. He has become an important part of the Red Sox rotation over the past two seasons. Last year, Pomeranz had a great season, going 17-6 with a 3.32 ERA. He struggled in the postseason, and this has caused Red Sox Nation to worry about his future.
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Going into the Spring Training before the 2018 season, Red Sox Nation had high hopes for their rotation. This rotation had two Cy Young Award winners, an arm with a 300-strikeout season, and an All-Star, so of course there was excitement. In the middle of Spring Training, Drew Pomeranz suffered from a strained left forearm flexor, thus his season started on the DL. With other important injuries and other issues affecting the rotation (Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright), the Red Sox were forced to count on lesser arms to start games.
As you could tell, Drew Pomeranz was discouraged when he heard the news. When he finally recovered from his injury, he had to finish his Spring Training, which was rudely interrupted. After two rehab starts in Double-A Portland, he was finally able to come back to the majors.
Comeback to the Majors
Pomeranz had his first start to the season on April 20 against the Oakland A’s in Oakland Coliseum. He had a shaky performance, only pitching 3 2/3 innings and giving up three earned runs on 88 pitches thrown. Most people did not notice, but he did strike out seven of the eleven batters he retired. The Red Sox went on to win that game because of a strong bullpen performance and key homers by Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mitch Moreland.
This was Pomeranz’s first start back, so many people brushed it aside, as did I.
His second start wasn’t much better. Against the Rays in Fenway Park, Pomeranz went five innings, giving up four runs on 81 pitches. This start caused Red Sox Nation to worry badly, because they felt that the Rays shouldn’t be talented enough to score that many runs. May I remind you that the Rays had seven of the eight games prior and had not scored under eight runs in a game in over a week. This Rays team was blistering hot, and there was no stopping them.
Signs of Improvement
Drew Pomeranz finally achieved a quality start on May 2. It was against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park, and he pitched well. Pomeranz went six innings, giving up three runs on 89 pitches. He was able to keep his pitch count low, thus he had success. Although this was a terrible Royals team, it was still an impressive performance.
Then, at Yankee Stadium, Drew got his first crack at the vaunted Yankees lineup.
Many had low expectations, since he was going head-to-head with Yankees ace Luis Severino, but Pomeranz didn’t disappoint. Both starters went six innings and gave up two runs. The big difference was that Severino had 11 strikeouts, and Pomeranz had six. Drew also gave up two solo home runs to Giancarlo Stanton, but he still limited damage, as any pitcher is paid to do.
Why Not to Worry
Drew Pomeranz has thrown together two consecutive quality starts, one against a team that is leading the league in runs. As long as Pomeranz is finishing his pitches and cutting his fingernails correctly, he will continue to be a valuable part of the Red Sox rotation.