The 2023 MLB season is well underway now, and the Boston Red Sox look to be just as bad as we expected them to be. After a surprisingly thrilling season-opening series against the Baltimore Orioles, which the Sox somehow managed to win, they came crashing back down to earth against arguably the worst team in the league in the Pittsburgh Pirates, who swept the Sox out of Fenway Park.

There have been problems at pretty much every stop for Boston so far. Their lineup, which started out on fire, has gone ice cold in the blink of an eye, and Alex Cora's decision-making has been spotty at best. But easily the biggest issue for this team just six games into the season is their woeful pitching staff.

So far, no Boston starter has made it to the sixth inning of a game, and even when they turn it over to the bullpen, it's only a matter of time until someone gives up a run along the way. It's only a six game sample, but it's not a stretch to say that the Red Sox have the worst pitching staff in the MLB.

The Red Sox pitching staff has been painfully bad in 2023

Now before we go any further, it is worth noting that a six-game stretch in a 162-game season is an incredibly small sample size. Things will even out as time goes on, but so far, what we have seen from the Sox doesn't feel like an anomaly. We knew this team would be bad heading into the season, and so far, they have proven to be just that.

While their lineup has at least occasionaly hit the ball from time to time, the pitching staff has been awful. Every game, you know they are going to give up runs, it's really just a matter of time until it happens. Through six games, their 6.00 ERA is the third-worst total in the league, which is really only because the two teams ahead of them have pitched less innings so far this season.

The only place to start with this is the starting rotation, which has easily been the worst in the league so far this season. Through six games, Boston's starters have an average ERA of 10.09. That is just awful. For the most part, this rotation has looked like one that might be able to do well at Double-A in the minors, but for the majors, they are simply terrible.

Again, they have all only pitched one game so far (aside from Corey Kluber) but the results have been so bad that it's worth wondering whether or not anything can be salvaged. Kluber bounced back Wednesday against the Pirates after a horrible Opening Day start, but he and Tanner Houck both have ERAs well above five right now.

It gets even worse, though. Kutter Crawford, who somehow has a spot in this starting rotation for the time being, has a 15.75 ERA. It still gets worse than that, though. Chris Sale, the presumed ace of this rotation, has a 21.00 ERA. Sale got rocked for seven runs in just three innings of work against the Orioles in what somehow ended up becoming Boston's first win of the season.

These issues are so concerning because there's no evidence to suggest that it will get better. Sale obviously will lower his ERA over time, but he hasn't been good since 2018, and it doesn't look like that's changing. Crawford doesn't belong in the MLB, and while Kluber, Houck, and Nick Pivetta have been OK technically speaking, they aren't good enough to lead a starting rotation on their own.

In the bullpen, things aren't much better, although in fairness, they are getting used far too much in the early going.  There are some success stories, as Josh Winckowski, Zack Kelly, and Chris Martin have solid when used in the early going, but that has been countered out by Kaleb Ort, Richard Bleier, and Ryan Brasier, who has all given up multiple runs despite their limited action.

Again, there just isn't any sign that things will get better here. Garrett Whitlock, Brayan Bello, and James Paxton are going to come off the injured list at some point, but aside from Whitlock, who is likely going to be used as a starter for whatever reason, none of these guys are gamechangers. Sale was supposed to be the gamechanger, but he's been arguably the worst pitcher on the staff early on.

It's important to not overreact so early into the season, and maybe this is an overreaction, but the early results have been, well, awful. The Red Sox could probably be 4-2 rather than 2-4 early in the season if they received at least league average pitching to this point. But they have not, and it's beginning to look like this pitching staff is not built to keep runs off the board. Unless something drastic changes as the season goes on, it's looking like this could be a very long season for the Red Sox and their pitching staff.