BOSTON -- The biggest question mark the Red Sox had in their rotation when the season started is fourth in the American League in wins (10), 10th in ERA (3.51) and 12th in strikeouts (108).Thomas Pomeranz turned in his latest in a string of strong outings in Wednesday's 5-1 win
BOSTON -- The biggest question mark the Red Sox had in their rotation when the season started is fourth in the American League in wins (10), 10th in ERA (3.51) and 12th in strikeouts (108).
Thomas Pomeranz turned in his latest in a string of strong outings in Wednesday's 5-1 win over the Blue Jays, allowing three hits and no earned runs over 6 2/3 innings.
For a team that already has Chris Sale, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Rick Porcello, it is a pretty big development that Pomeranz is emerging into a stalwart performer.
Just don't expect Pomeranz to be saying "I told you so" to all the skeptics back in Spring Training.
As it turns out, he wasn't sure how he would pitch, either.
"I just didn't really know what to expect coming in. I didn't feel great in Spring Training," said Pomeranz. "I got started this year and I felt good enough, but not great. I think I was struggling mechanically a little bit. After that first month or so, I really decided to sit back and just restart everything. Ever since then I've felt pretty good."
This is the pitcher the Red Sox thought they were getting last year in that All-Star break trade with the Padres, only Pomeranz had a left forearm injury that San Diego didn't properly disclose.
The Red Sox could have rescinded the trade, but talented lefties don't grow on trees.
Pomeranz had an experimental stem cell injection in the winter and it took a while for his arm to feel right again.
Through his first seven starts of the season, Pomeranz was 3-3 with a 5.29 ERA. Those are the stats you'd expect from a fifth starter, which is how Pomeranz slots into this stacked rotation.
But he took off after that, continuing with Wednesday's clutch outing that helped preserve the bullpen after a 15-inning win Tuesday.
In Pomeranz's past 11 starts, he is 7-1 with a 2.64 ERA.
"I think you have to go back to the physical state of Drew. He's much sounder," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He dealt with some things last year and he demonstrated a high pain threshold. There were times last year you get an extended offensive inning and we had to be careful with how long he had between innings.
"That's no longer an issue. It starts with the health. I think as he's come along here and strung quality starts together, we're seeing a guy that's much more confident than any other time he's been in our uniform. The fact that we're almost counting on six innings and he gets into the seventh inning tonight, those are things he didn't do last year. And I think they're all health-related."
Even though Pomeranz made the All-Star team after a strong first half with San Diego last year, he thinks he's pitching the best baseball of his career.
"Yeah, I had a good year last year, but I feel really good this year with all my pitches, which is something different," Pomeranz said. "I feel really good with all my pitches on both sides of the plate, which is something I've never really had before. I've made some adjustments mechanically, where I am on the rubber and things. Just really tried to focus on pitching arm-side with everything, which I was always good on glove side. I think that has helped me put this string together."
The 28-year-old is feeling better as the season progresses, where last year it was the opposite.
"I feel like repeating my mechanics now is making me able to get stronger and get through some of these starts instead of feeling more tired," said Pomeranz.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.