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Sox pitching staff not so deep after all

The Sox pitching staff, thought to be one of the best and deepest in all of baseball earlier in the season, has struggled out of the gate after the All Star break. Following the electric 1-2 punch of Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, the rest of the rotation has struggled to follow suit, due to both injury and a lack of performance. Tim Wakefield’s services are sorely missed, as Clay Buccholz hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire and certainly hasn’t filled Wakefield’s role as a consistent innings-eater. Brad Penny, a former All Star, has hardly lived up to expectations, as his quality starts seem to be coming fewer and farther between. Penny, who just turned in another sub-par performance against division rival Tampa Bay, entered August with only seven wins and an ERA over 5.00. John Smoltz has been an even bigger disappointment, having given up at least five runs in five of his seven starts. The Sox may not have invested a whole lot financially in Smoltz and Penny, but the front office has to be pretty disappointed with the return thus far.
Although I love the acquisition of versatile slugger Victor Martinez, the Sox brass may be second guessing their decision to not part ways with the likes of Buccholz, Justin Masterson, or Daniel Bard in exchange for perennial Cy Young candidate Roy Halladay. A playoff rotation of Halladay, Beckett, and Lester would instantly thrust the Red Sox into World Series favorites and perhaps give us two titles in two years. As talented as Buccholz is, as durable and versatile as Masterson can be, and as virtually un-hittable as Bard often is, there is no guarantee that any of them will turn out to be a pitcher of Halladay’s caliber. Although I understand that young prospects, especially young pitching prospects, are coveted more than ever in these rough economic times, the Red Sox are one of the few teams, along with the Yankees, who still have almost unlimited financial resources with the ability to take on someone like Halladay’s salary without being stretched too thin.
Hopefully, Wakefield will be back sooner rather than later. If he can come close to regaining the form that earned the veteran knuckleball specialist his first All Star berth at forty two years young, the rotation will be receiving a significant upgrade. At the moment, Wake is feeling optimistic about the condition of his back and has begun to throw side sessions in the bullpen. As for the never ending saga of Daisuke Matsuzaka, the beleaguered right hander appears to be making progress, as recent reports describe him as noticeably lighter and fitter. In addition, Dice-K has recently issued an apology for the controversy that recently erupted over his training regimen. If everything goes according to plan, he will rejoin the team for the stretch run in September. The return of Dice-K and Wakefield, who combined for 28 wins a year ago, can’t come any sooner, as Boston can hardly afford to lose any more ground to the red-hot Yankees, with the resurgent Rays lurking behind their shoulder.
-Dave Mansfield

1 comment:

  1. don't forget about the possibility of tazawa getting some starts

    ReplyDelete