Red Sox

Kutter Crawford will start on Wednesday for the Red Sox

Crawford started the second game of Boston's Saturday doubleheader, allowing one run in three innings.

Boston Red Sox pitcher Kutter Crawford pitches during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Guardians
Kutter Crawford has a 3.48 ERA in 11 appearances so far this season. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Kutter Crawford is set to take the bump on Wednesday night for the Red Sox, following last week’s injury to Chris Sale.

The 27-year-old right-hander has bounced between the bullpen and the starting rotation throughout the season. Crawford opened the year with back-to-back starts before making his next eight appearances as a reliever.

His most recent start was in his last appearance on Saturday when he opened Game 2 of Boston’s doubleheader with Tampa Bay.

In that start, Crawford threw three innings and allowed one run.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said after the game that the early hook was more about preserving Crawford’s arm than anything else.


“You gotta take care of him,” Cora said. “He pitched two days ago and obviously coming from the IL we have to take care of him.”

So far this season Crawford has been far more effective for Cora as a reliever than a starter.

In his 21.2 innings of work out of the bullpen, the righty has a 1.66 ERA and just a 0.69 WHIP. In his 12 innings as a starter, he has a 6.75 ERA and a 1.417 WHIP.

When looking at some of the advanced stats, however, it appears that Crawford has just been a little unlucky as a starter.

His walk rate as a starter is still elite at just 3.8 percent, and his strikeout rate is higher as a starter (28 percent) than a reliever (22 percent).

The only real difference causing his ERA to jump as a starter is how often opposing batters get hits when the ball is put in play.

The batting average on balls in play of Crawford’s opponents suggests that he’s getting a lot more help from his defense when he’s a reliever.

The league baseline for BAbip is .297. When he comes out of the bullpen Crawford has a .143 BAbip against, but when he starts that number leaps to .364.


After Crawford’s start on Wednesday, there will still be some questions in the Red Sox rotation.

After Tuesday’s game, Cora said that rookie Chris Murphy is in contention to be Thursday’s starter if he doesn’t come out of the bullpen on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old Murphy is yet to make his major league debut after being called up Tuesday by the Red Sox.

Another potential starter for Thursday’s game against the Guardians is Garrett Whitlock, who started game 1 on Saturday against the Rays.


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