Tell me if you’ve heard this, but the Boston Red Sox are actually playing some pretty good baseball lately.
The team that we all thought was going to be horrendous going into the 2023 regular season is 21-14, and have won 11 of their last 15. They’ve also won eight straight games!
The vibes are high and it looks like they’re starting to get healthier.
James Paxton is set to rejoin the rotation and make his first start of his Boston Red Sox career in the upcoming Braves series.
Of course, with Paxton back in the rotation, that means somebody is going to get bumped to the bullpen. Some tough decisions ahead for Alex Cora and company!
Boston Red Sox hoping James Paxton is productive
One of the biggest reasons for the Red Sox hot stretch of play has been the consistency of the starting pitching. Now, we’re not talking about shutouts every start. But starters are giving quality innings and handing things over to the much improved bullpen.
The Red Sox are hoping that James Paxton will come in and do the same thing. Throw strikes and give quality innings.
He had his troubles down in Worcester with control and at times, getting hit hard. So hopefully, he figures something out when he gets set to face Major League hitters this week.
Also keep in mind that Paxton was an absolute monster with the Seattle Mariners. If you get even half of what Paxton was with those Mariners teams, then your starting rotation improves that much more.
Boston Red Sox having to put someone in the bullpen for James Paxton
With Paxton’s return to the Boston Red Sox starting rotation, it means that somebody is getting the boot to the bullpen.
Want your voice heard? Join the Chowder And Champions team!
Now, the two names that immediately come to my mind for getting the demotion are Nick Pivetta and Tanner Houck.
Pivetta is the ultimate definition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Sometimes, we see the Pivetta of the 2021 postseason, who was lights out with all of his pitches. Then at other times, we see too much hard contact and Pivetta leaves pitches up in the zone. So maybe, his stuff is better preserved for only a few innings.
Then there’s Tanner Houck.
Houck is starting on Sunday afternoon in the series finale against the Phillies. This could be a bigger start for him than he might even realize.
We know the thing with Houck is he struggles through the third time in a lineup. So if that continues to be the case, wouldn’t it make sense for him to be a middle reliever going forward? I certainly think so!
The bottom line with the Boston Red Sox having James Paxton return
I’m excited to see what “Big Maple” brings to the Boston Red Sox in terms of value. Can he be a secret weapon that makes this team that much better?
That question remains to be seen. But there’s going to have to be some reorganizing of the rotation and bullpen usage.
My prediction: I think Houck gets the boot to the bullpen after the Philly start.
But if Paxton has a couple of rough starts in a row, then maybe the two flip flop spots and we see Houck back in the rotation come mid-June. Time will tell!