Boston Red Sox 2017 player review: Drew Pomeranz silenced the critics

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 06: Drew Pomeranz
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 06: Drew Pomeranz /

Drew Pomeranz found his stride in 2017, helping the Boston Red Sox pitching staff a boost when they needed it most.

Lefties ruled the roost for starting pitching staff for the Boston Red Sox in 2017. Chris Sale received the notoriety and David Price received the negative headlines, but it was Drew Pomeranz who was the rock.

Pomeranz, fresh off a season in which it looked like the Red Sox were swindled in their trade with the San Diego Padres, bounced back nicely. Pomeranz was not only good, but he also put up numbers that should even garner a few Cy Young Award votes.

Quietly, Pomeranz put together one of the finer seasons in recent memory. He didn’t overpower teams regularly (174 K’s) but went 17-6 with a 3.32 ERA.

The lefty wasn’t much of an innings eater, averaging just over five per start, but teamed with Sale to form a nice 1-2 punch throughout much of the summer.

HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 06: Drew Pomeranz
HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 06: Drew Pomeranz /

One of the best things was seeing Pomeranz recover from a poor second-half of 2016 to help Boston win the A.L. East. Acquired that summer, Pomeranz arrived from the Padres with an 8-7 record and 2.47 ERA.

From there, the latter half of the 2016 season was injury riddled and filled with poor performances. A 3-5 record with a 4.59 ERA was not what the Boston Red Sox were hoping for upon acquiring him.

Even as 2017 got started, Boston fans weren’t sure what version of Pomeranz would show up.

Early season struggles

It turns out both versions arrived.

Nailing down a rotation spot out of the gate, there was hope Pomeranz would provide valuable innings as a fourth or fifth starter.

His first start of the year was an encouraging sign. Pomeranz pitched six innings and only gave up one run while striking out six in a victory over Baltimore.

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Then the struggles set in.

Pomeranz failed to reach the fifth inning in four of his next seven starts. A three-inning stint against Tampa Bay dropped his record to 3-3 with a 5.29 ERA.

Things only got worse for Pomeranz in his next start against Oakland. He was pulled after four innings, leading to a visibly upset Pomeranz arguing in the dugout with now recently fired manager John Farrell.

One easily imagined Pomeranz’s time in Boston might soon come to an end.

Cy Young worthy numbers

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Did the argument spark something in Pomeranz? If not that, something definitely did.

He won his next three starts, allowing only four earned runs while striking out 26.

A loss to Detroit on June 11 ended the mini-win streak, but Pomeranz responded by only losing twice more the rest of the season.

Included in 2017’s performance was a 9-4 record (with four no-decisions) against the A.L. East.  Pomeranz was also the pitcher of record when Boston clinched the division.

Pomeranz ended with 17 wins, tied for second-most in MLB. He was Boston’s most reliable starter down the stretch and was a main reason the Red Sox reached the playoffs.

Incredibly, Pomeranz also had only two starts after the June 11 game in which he failed to reach the fifth. His value? A WAR of 4.

Final Grade

For his efforts, Pomeranz deserves an A-.

Overall, there isn’t much to complain about from Pomeranz. The walks could be cutdown (69 BB) and more innings would be nice, but that’s nitpicking.

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The postseason start by Pomeranz needs to be erased from memory (2 IP, 5H, 4ER), but so do the performances by most of the Red Sox.

All told, Pomeranz will be an important part of this Boston Red Sox team in the foreseeable future.