London Series preview: Red Sox rotation

The historic London Series is only a matter of days away. Continuing the Bat Flips and Nerds player previews, we reach the Red Sox rotation.


David Price
Team: Boston Red Sox
Height: 196cm (6’ 5”)
Age: 33
Bats: Left-handed
From: Tennessee, USA
2019 salary: $31 million (signed a seven-year, $217 million contract for 2016-2022)

Embed from Getty Images

It is a proven fact that high-profile sports people on astronomic wages are susceptible to becoming addicts. David Price is no different. The former Cy Young award winner is struggling to beat his addiction … to Fortnite. We wish him well in kicking the habit.

Taken with the first overall selection of the 2007 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays (or Devil Rays as they were then), Price made his MLB debut the following year and has never looked back. Easily fulfilling the expectations of a number one pick.

After 170 starts for the Rays, Price and his 3.18 ERA went to the Detroit Tigers in a three-team deal for two successful seasons. After a brief stint in Toronto, the left-hander hit free agency, and the tumultuous love affair with Boston began.

The Red Sox signed Price to a seven-year, $217 million contract which will keep him in Boston until 2022.

After an injury-plagued 2017, Price picked up the award for AL Comeback Player of the Year in 2018, obviously partly influenced by his two stunning wins in the World Series victory over the LA Dodgers.

His good form has continued into this season and Price is currently enjoying his best strikeout rate and lowest ERA since at Boston.

Want a fun fact? The first hit Price ever allowed was to Yankees’ legend Derek Jeter. Three years later, Jeter took him deep to record his 3,000th career hit.

Price, a seven-time All-Star, has faced the Yankees more than he has faced any other team and has more wins than losses against the Bronx Bombers.


Chris Sale
Team: Boston Red Sox
Height: 198cm (6’ 6”)
Age: 30
Bats: Left-handed
From: Florida, USA
2019 salary: $15 million (Signed a five-year, $145 million deal for 2020-24)

Embed from Getty Images

An immaculate inning is three up, three down with nine pitches and nine strikes. It is tough to do. In fact, there have been fewer than 100 immaculate innings in MLB history. On June 5th, Chris Sale threw his second immaculate inning of the season and became only the second player ever to pitch two in the same year.

The left-hander was drafted by the Chicago White Sox with the 13th pick in June 2010 and then, a mere 60 days later, the player known as The Condor, made his MLB debut.

In that first season, Sale worked exclusively from the bullpen, making 23 appearances with a 1.93 ERA and 12.3 SO/9. The following year, the left-hander established himself as a fire-throwing, permanent member of the White Sox relief corps. But it was obvious that his talents were wasted by only throwing 70 innings in a season.

Sale has become an All-Star every season since becoming a starter, and his lowest finish in Cy Young voting is sixth. Pretty amazing for a guy whose mechanics suggests he is never more than one pitch away from an injury.

In December 2016, he moved from Chicago to Boston in a deal that sent a package of prospects in the other direction, headlined by Michael Kopech and Yoan Moncada.

With a strikeout rate of 10.9 SO/9, Sale is the all-time career leader (min. 1000 innings). That’s all-time. That includes every pitching legend who has ever played Major League baseball. And he is coming to London.

The left-hander can be spoken about in the same conversation as the best-ever pitchers in Red Sox history. In 2017, Sale had 308 strikeout victims, a total just five shy of the franchise record set by Pedro Martinez in 1999.

The 30-year-old is earning $15 million this year, and he will see that shoot up to $30 million next year after signing a five-year, $145 million deal to keep him in Boston until 2024. Perhaps the Advertising Standards Authorities need to investigate the accuracy of a Sale Price rotation. Haha.


Rick Porcello
Team: Boston Red Sox
Height: 196cm (6’ 5”)
Age: 30
Bats: Right-handed
From: New Jersey, USA
2019 salary: $21.1 million (becomes a free agent at the end of the season)

Embed from Getty Images

Taken in the same first round as David Price in the 2007 draft, Frederick Alfred “Rick” Porcello the Third is one of the most underrated workhorses in the game.

If staying healthy is a skill, then Rick Porcello is one for the most talented. He has averaged 186 innings per season since debuting as the youngest player in the AL in 2009. The fewest starts he has made in a season is 27.

In 2016, the groundball pitcher posted a 3.15 ERA with a 22-4 record to secure the Cy Young award. He was the first Red Sox pitcher to pick up the trophy since Pedro Martinez in 2000. The following year, he went from leading the league in wins to leading the league in losses.

The 30-year-old is a New Jersey native with strong Italian heritage, although his relations back in the motherland are more likely to be “por-CHello” than “por-SELLo”.

His ability to induce groundballs will be utilised by the Red Sox against the powerful Yankees’ sluggers in Game 1 of the London Series. Although Porcello has endured an inconsistent season (5-7 with 4.52 ERA), his repertoire might be exactly what is required in the seemingly hitter-friendly ballpark in Stratford.


Eduardo Rodríguez
Team: Boston Red Sox
Height: 188cm (6’ 2”)
Age: 26
Bats: Left-handed
From: Venezuela
2019 salary: $4.3 million (two more arbitration years remaining. Hits free agency in 2022)

Embed from Getty Images

With a dreadful start to the season of nine defeats in Boston’s first 12 games, Eduardo Rodríguez took the ball for his start against the Orioles and promptly retired the first 14 batters he faced on the way to becoming the first Red Sox starter to leave a game with the lead in 2019.

Rodríguez originally came over from the Orioles in 2014 in a trade that sent Andrew Miller the other way during Baltimore’s AL East title-winning run. The Red Sox finished 25 games behind the Orioles that year; how times change.

Rodríguez is naturally right-handed but switched to throwing with his left after breaking his arm as a kid. He has made 100 regular season starts for the Red Sox, but has a place in history as one of only six pitchers to start a World Series game with zero days rest.

The Venezuelan credits Red Sox talismanic second baseman Dustin Pedroia with showing him how to throw a breaking ball; a skill that had eluded him for years. Maybe Pedroia has a future as a pitching coach when he hangs up his cleats.

Look out for Rodríguez to get the start in the second game of the London Series on Sunday 30 June.

Nate Eovaldi, a key member of the Red Sox rotation, will be absent from the London Series as he recuperates from surgery to remove loose bodies from his elbow.


Watch out for the rest of our player profiles and make sure you follow @BatFlips_Nerds on Twitter to keep up-to-date with all of the latest London Series news.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.