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Red Sox 8, Braves 6: Drew Pomeranz's spot in rotation hanging by a thread

Rob Bradford
May 26, 2018 - 5:50 pm

Drew Pomeranz will get at least one more chance.

After another uninspiring start, this time giving up five runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Braves, the Red Sox' lefty was granted at least a partial vote of confidence by Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who said Pomeranz will make his next scheduled outing, Thursday in Houston.

Amazingly, the Red Sox are still 4-3 in games Pomeranz have started after their 8-6 win over Atlanta. This time it was Steven Wright who picked up a good amount of the slack, not allowing a run over three innings. (For a complete recap, click here.)

"I'm not really focused on those things," said Pomeranz when asked about his tenuous spot in the rotation, having seen his ERA balloon to 6.75. "Those decisions are over my head anyway. I just focus on coming in here every day and figuring out what that problem is to get back to how I was because right now I don't feel like the same guy as I was last year."

It is last year that is usually referenced when making the case for a Pomeranz turnaround. After a lackluster start to his 2017 season, Pomeranz rattled off a 14-3 record and 2.85 ERA starting with his May 25 start. 

The difference this time, however, is that the lefty still hasn't found the velocity on his fastball, or curveball location of a year ago. His heater averaged 89 mph, maxing out at 92 mph, which is at least a couple of ticks down from this time last year. And coming into Saturday, opponents were hitting .380 against his curveball, a trend that didn't change against Atlanta.

"It's one thing to go out there and pitch sometimes and be like, 'Hey my curveball's not good today.' I'm going out there right now and it's kind of like nothing's good," Pomeranz said. "So it's kind of frustrating -- it's really frustrating. Like I said, our offense is so good that they've been bailing me out of all these crappy starts I've run out there."

So, what's the solution? Pomeranz said he at least has identified what part of the problem might be.

"I was just having trouble getting off my back leg today," he said. "I think one of the things I've been searching for this whole time is, I'm missing the drive off my back leg is what I had last year. Really getting into my back leg. When I get in a jam and bring out 93, 94, 95, and I don't have that right now. My curveball. Everything is just a few miles an hour off. It's a pretty good indicator that something key is missing there. That some attachment between my upper and lower body is just not firing right now."

With their 36th win of the season, the Red Sox join the 2017 Astros, the 2016 Cubs, the 2002 and 2007 Red Sox, and the 2001 Mariners as the only teams to win 36 or more games in their first 52 tries since 2000. It was also the Sox' 17th come-from-behind victory this season.

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