By Christopher Frangolini
Despite having a 4.41 team earned run average, ninth worse in the majors, the Boston Red Sox pitching staff has accomplished something that has not been done since 1900.
Through the first 20 games, Red Sox pitchers have amassed 210 strikeouts. According to Elias, that mark is the most since 1900 and breaks the previous record of 198 from the 2015 Cleveland Indians.
David Price (3-0) alone has rung up 46 batters, best in the entire league.
Rick Porcello, who finished the 2015 campaign at 9-15, is off to a bounce-back season. He is 4-0 with a 0.94 WHIP and is second on the team with 30 strikeouts.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright is third on the team with 25 strikeouts in just 26 1/3 innings.
Wright improved to 2-2 on this season Wednesday night, when the Red Sox defeated the Braves, 9-4.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 28, 2016
In the bullpen, Craig Kimbrel (six saves) has 18 strikeouts in 10.0 innings, Koji Uehara (nine K’s in 9 1/3 innings), Junichi Tazawa (11 k’s in 8 2/3 innings). Heath Hembree also struck out 11 in three appearances after getting called up (7 2/3 innings).
All this has been done with Eduardo Rodriguez and Carson Smith, who began the season on the disabled list.
“I think somebody brought to my attention the other day that per nine innings, the strikeout rate is four more currently than we were the last couple years,” Farrell said. “Any time late in the game you can put less balls in play, certainly the better, and we’re starting to really build a power bullpen that hasn’t been the case the last couple years.”