New Red Sox Pitching Coach Ready For His New Challenge

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The Boston Red Sox came into the offseason needing a new pitching coach after the team reassigned former pitching coach Dana LeVangie.  LeVangie will now become a pro scout for the team after being part of the coaching staff that won the 2018 World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Photo courtesy of bostonglobe.com
On the first day of the offseason the team announced former big league pitcher Dave Bush as their new pitching coach.  Bush, who joined the organization back in 2016, has spent time as an analyst and coordinator in the minor league system.

The injury bug haunted the Red Sox this past season.  The club saw Chris Sale, David Price and Nathan Eovaldi on the Injured List at some point over the season.  The Sox shut down both Sale and Price before the end of the season, where as Eovaldi missed time at the beginning of the year due to elbow surgery.  The Red Sox expect all three in time for Spring Training providing Price and/or Eovaldi are not traded before the season.

Dave Bush pitched nine years in the majors, where he pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays, Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers.  Over his nine year career he was 56-69, posted a 4.73 ERA and struck out 768 batters.  Now he will be tasked with getting this pitching staff back on track.  The Red Sox bullpen was inconsistent all last season and the staff as a whole finished with a 4.70 ERA, that was 19th in the majors.

Shop for officially licensed MLB Caps from New Era at Shop.MLB.comWhile working in the minors, Bush was an off-field analyst and he would apply his wealth of knowledge and an analytical approach to the big league club.  Bush spent his first year in the Sox system figuring out the right way to get the information to the players.  Bush wasn’t always in uniform his first year, so being able to cascade information was important when he was able to do so.

Taking over the Red Sox pitching staff in the big leagues will be a challenge for Bush.  Bush will need to navigate through the difficulty of this being his first big league job and the outside noise of the job being in Boston.  Bush has three years of being in the Red Sox system.  He has worked with the team on player development.  He will have an advantage of working with the younger pitchers as they climb through the system and eventually end up in Boston.

Bush will get the opportunity to work with relievers Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Marcus Walden and Bobby Poyner.  All of those players mentioned will all have an opportunity to earn a spot on the Red Sox roster coming out of Fort Myers next season.  While working with the young arms he will also have to manage and work with the big league personalities of Sale and Price.  He will also have the challenge with working with relievers Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier and potential closer Brandon Workman.

One aspect of Bush’s approach to the team will be how he handles Spring Training with manager Alex Cora.  Cora and the coaching staff handled the pitchers with kid gloves last season and they appeared to not be ready for the start of the year.  Bush will need to get his pitchers on a routine and a standard spring training.  Barring any injuries to his pitchers, they will all get the appropriate innings needed to get ready for the 2020 season.  In addition, Cora and Bush can evaluate the organizational depth from a pitching perspective as the team builds depth for the entire season.

In addition to Bush, the Red Sox have announced that PawSox Pitching Coach Kevin Walker will be joining their staff as the Assistant Pitching Coach.  Walker has spent the last two seasons with the PawSox, and he will now work with Bush and Cora this upcoming season.

Walker, 43, has been in the Red Sox system for the last 11 seasons.  He has worked his way up the entire organization before joining the big league club.  The former big league pitcher spent time with the Padres, Giants and White Sox in 122 games.

Bush and Walker will need to coach new lefty Martin Perez.  Perez will help stabilize the rotation.  Bush sees Perez as someone with a few adjustments he could get better in a few different areas and really bring that stability the team is looking for.  “For guys like him that have been around for a while, it’s small adjustments in things like pitch mix” said Bush.

Another interesting thing to look at will be whether lefty Eduardo Rodriguez can repeat his impressive season from last year.  Two areas that Rodriguez can do that is by limiting his walks and go deeper into games.  The 26-year old went 19-6 last season with a 3.81 ERA in 34 starts.  E-Rod had 75 walks last season in 34 starts while striking out 213 batters.  If E-Rod continues to work hard and makes adjustments throughout the year, he is primed to repeat his performance.

The bullpen was a major issue for the club last season, the team did not have the depth, nor did the front office make any moves to improve the club.  “I think the bullpen had a really good year.  They, for whatever reason, took a lot of heat” Bush told the Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.  While the numbers don’t lie and Red Sox Nation would argue that the bullpen was a major Achilles heel for the Sox last season.  It will be important to work with the likes of Hernandez and Taylor while developing roles for everyone who will be in the bullpen.

Whether the Red Sox use the opener approach, trade or keep Price/Eovaldi, or sign depth for the bullpen, Bush will have the daunting task of turning around a pitching staff that under-performed last season.  Barring any injuries to key members of the rotation and performance set-backs, Bush will need to manage a talented group of pitchers who’ll need specific roles, and the club should see some new consistency from the Red Sox staff.



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Boston Sports Syndicate: New Red Sox Pitching Coach Ready For His New Challenge
New Red Sox Pitching Coach Ready For His New Challenge
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