Boston Red Sox Fan

In maybe the most exciting development thus far in an opening month full of really exciting Red Sox developments, Garrett Richards carved up the Mets tonight. 

7 IP, 7 hits, 1 ER, 10 Ks, 0 BBs

You read that right. Garrett Richards gave up 1 run, struck out 10, and walked none. The walk stat is what really blows my skirt up about tonight. He walked 6 Blue Jays while pitching at home in his last start, not even making it out of the fifth inning. He has had no command this year and I had no confidence whatsoever that he could even make an official quality start (6 IP with 3 ER or less) at this point in his career. Now, after hearing that he spent the time between his last two starts adjusting his mechanics, even tweaking his delivery a bit before tonight, I can’t help but visualizing a Red Sox starting rotation with the potential to really surprise the American League this year. 

The Mets lineup features Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, and Michael Conforto, and the only offense of significance they could manage was a solo homer from Jeff McNeil in the 2nd inning. After that, it was no contest. Richards attacked the best baseball team in New York with two-seamers and four-seamers that moved all over the strike zone and a curveball that dipped more than Lenny Dykstra.

If the changes that Richards made to his mechanics after that Blue Jays dumpster fire performance have unlocked something within him, be it physical or psychological, this could be a game changer for Boston. Right now, the Red Sox are overachievers. If Garrett Richards becomes a dependable starter with the ability to perform like this a couple times per month, they become a scary team that nobody wants to face for three or four games. Eovaldi and Rodriguez were supposed to be the only Boston starters that had the ability to shut down a talented offense. Martin Perez will usually keep you in the game and Nick Pivetta is going to be a bona fide number two starter in a year or two. Before tonight, Richards was the only starting pitcher that I felt did not give the Red Sox a chance to win when he took the hill. One great performance is not enough to make me a believer, but the fact that he spotted all his pitches so well tonight at least shows me that he can shut a team down.

Will he be able to replicate this performance? Will his injury history come back to bite him at the worst possible time like it did in 2014 (13-4, 2.61 ERA before tearing his patella in late August)? Quite possibly. But before tonight, I felt like this guy needed 8 runs of support to earn a win. Tonight, on a night where the Boston offense was shut down by lefthanded nobody David Peterson, Garrett Richards carried them to a huge 2-1 victory at Shea Stadium the night before that same offense is scheduled to be doused in flames by Jacob DeGrom. Thanks to Richards, the Red Sox have guaranteed at least a split of this 2-game series before walking into that buzzsaw. 

Most importantly, Red Sox fans have something else to be excited about. And after completing an extremely difficult stretch of their schedule, at a time where the offense has begun to taper off, Garrett Richards is showing some life at the perfect time. 

Still upset about the politics of Red Sox management? Bored by the length of games? Angry about trading away Mookie Betts?

That’s okay. There are no more seats available anyway. 

By Luke

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