Young pitchers hoping to emulate their Major League heroes should do everything they can to avoid watching the Boston Red Sox staff at work on the mound these days.
The ace-less Red Sox rotation saw its collective earned run average escalate to a major-league worst 5.75 per nine innings Sunday after newcomer Wade Miley failed to last through the third inning of Boston’s disastrous 18-7 loss at Baltimore.
Miley’s ERA for the season is now 8.62, worst among a group of starters led by Joe Kelly (4.08 entering Monday night’s game against Toronto) and also including Clay Buchholz (4.84), Justin Masterson (5.16) and Rick Porcello (6.48).
Three weeks into the season, the Sox are closer to having five No. 5 starters than a single ace — yet somehow they entered Monday’s play above .500 at 10-9 and one game out of first place in the AL East.
Pitchers on the local high school scene fared much better than the Red Sox rotation through the first week of regular-season play.
Defending Class A state champion Bangor yielded one earned run on four hits in season-opening victories over Hampden Academy and Brewer.
Starters Peter Kemble and Andrew Hillier were aided by staff ace Trevor DeLaite, Nick Cowperthwaite and James Prescott — a trio of relievers who combined to retire all 12 batters they faced.
Hampden also yielded just one run on four hits in its 1-1 start, with Tommy Farrar and Casey Sudbeck going deep into their starts and Jackson Gilmore providing scoreless late relief.
Another Eastern A contender, Messalonskee of Oakland, did not allow a run in its first two victories — including a strong performance by 6-foot-8 Nick Mayo during the Eagles’ 10-0 win over Lawrence of Fairfield. That marked the first pitching appearance in two seasons for Mayo, the Eastern Kentucky-bound All-Maine basketball star.
Similar early success stories are to be found in Class B, where Camden Hills of Rockport was 2-0 after yielding just one run in wins over Medomak Valley of Waldoboro and Oceanside of Rockland-Thomaston and Old Town allowed four total runs while winning its first three games.
In Class C, perennial contender Bucksport posted shutout victories against Washington Academy of East Machias and Ellsworth before dropping a 4-2 decision to Dexter on Saturday.
Here’s hoping all those fast starters continue to avoid Red Sox game tapes.
An early showdown in Eastern Maine Class B baseball is set for Tuesday afternoon when Old Town visits Foxcroft Academy in a 4:30 p.m. start at Dover-Foxcroft.
Both are 3-0 after doubleheader sweeps Saturday, with Old Town defeating Presque Isle twice while Foxcroft earned a pair of road victories at Mount Desert Island.
Old Town advanced to the Eastern B final last spring before falling to Caribou 4-3 in 10 innings. Foxcroft graduated just one starter off its 2014 team that fell to Caribou by the same score on a walk-off hit in the seventh inning of their preliminary-round playoff contest.