On Friday, the Boston Red Sox
take on the Toronto Blue Jays to kick off the second half of the
season. On the hill for the Red Sox will be Clay Buchholz.
Many will remember Buchholz from his no-hitter in September 2007.
Others remember how bad his 2008 season was, as he was shipped off to
In 2009, Buchholz has been dominating while playing for Triple-A
Pawtucket. But with Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield, Brad
Penny, and Dice-K, there was no room on the rotation.
When Dice-K went down, John Smoltz stepped up. So what do you do with the sixth man on the pitching roster?
If you’re Terry Francona, you should put him in the rotation. Does this mean that the Red Sox could have a six-man rotation?
It’s possible. If Buchholz proves that he has what it takes to pitch
at the major league level again, it will be difficult to take him out
of the rotation.
Early in the season, there was talk by the fans/media about Tim
Wakefield eventually landing in the bullpen, but he’s tied for the lead
league in wins (with Josh Beckett).
How about John Smoltz? If he’s locating his pitches, he’s great, which means he will stay on the roster.
How about Penny? There was the thought he might be traded, but
that’s not going to happen anymore. Lester and Beckett are certainly
not going anywhere. Maybe if Dice-K goes to rehab, they can throw him
in the ‘pen.
Then you look towards August and September. By then, Dice-K will hopefully be back in good form, leaving the Red Sox with seven quality starters. That is if everyone stays healthy.
As usual, the Red Sox have approached the season with their eyes on
October. Slipping in April and May and late-slump before the All-Star
break mean absolutely nothing at this point.
A few days rest will do the bullpen some good, and they should
bounce back from the issues they’ve had the past two weeks or so. Bay
and Youkilis are seemingly heating up again, and Papi seems to be
Josh Beckett and Jon Lester have improved their starts lately. They
seem to be the aces we expected at the beginning of the year.
Smoltz is looking good. Penny is looking good. Clay Buchholz can only add to the rotation.
As far as Wakefield is concerned, his first ever All-Star game
should only serve to motivate and inspire him to keep pitching well.
Would this six man rotation work for the Red Sox? It cuts down on
the number of starts, and thus, the number of possible wins. On the
other hand, would the extra rest make the starters more likely to win?
We might actually get to see the answer to that question.
The Red Sox don’t care if Josh Beckett only has the opportunity to win 15 more games instead of 20, and he doesn’t either.
No one will care if this method helps win a World Series. In fact,
if that happens, six-man rotations might become the new rule in
Or maybe not.
The big question facing the Red Sox in the second half is a good
one; what do we do with our extra pitching? They basically have great
bargaining chips that won’t hurt the team if they go.
This would not be a bad move on the Red Sox part. This could put
them in prime position to make a great run in October, whether they use
five or six pitchers in their rotation.