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The Oakland A’s announced via their Twitter page that Curt Young will be heading back to the Bay Area as the team’s new pitching coach. He served in that capacity from 2004-2010 before spending a disastrous year in Boston in 2011.
Young had joined the Sox staff to replace John Farrell, who bolted to become the manager in Toronto. He came in with high hopes, but leaves with the Sox pitching staff in shambles.
The Red Sox finished 2011 with a 4.20 ERA, good for ninth in the American League and no thanks to John Lackey, who had the worst ERA in the history of the organization for a pitcher with at least as many innings. Lackey finished 12-12 in 28 starts with a 6.41 ERA and 1.62 WHIP.
Some of Lackey’s unraveling has to fall on the lap of Young, who failed to get the best (or even anything good) out of the big righthander.
Also marring Young’s reputation is the notion that three or four of his starters would drink beer and eat fried chicken during games. How could a pitching coach (or manager for that matter – Tito, you’re not off the hook for this one) allow his pitchers to seemingly pig out on beer and fried chicken?
His ace, Josh Beckett, may have gained a considerable amount of weight, which likely affected his stamina. These are things the pitching coach needs to watch out for. It’s as if the starters gave Young the figurative middle finger and continued on with their own routines.
And finally, Young completely failed to get his pitching staff on track in September. At the beginning of the month, the Sox led the AL East and appeared well on their way to postseason play. Instead, the team went 7-20 and missed the playoffs by one game, thanks in large part to a starting rotation that routinely could not reach the fifth inning.
The starting staff had a 7.08 ERA in September, the worst mark in any month in the history of the franchise. Sox starters combined to go 4-13 with only five quality starts.
Think of it this way: the starters were so unreliable, Alfredo Aceves didn’t start a game all month, but still finished second on the team in innings (25.0 IP, 1.50 ERA).
Overall, the pitching staff had a 5.84 ERA, the highest ever for a Red Sox team in September, and the highest for any month since June 1994 (5.88 ERA).
Simply put, don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out, Curt.