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Now we need something new to fret over.

by Chris Allen

I know his outing is not complete yet but Jon Lester has looked great. After five innings he has only allowed one hit while striking out five. This is great to see after watching him get nailed in the leg the other night at Yankee Stadium. Now we can worry about something else like Josh Beckett's back or how many at bats is Varitek going to get in the series against the Angels.
Well, I'm not going to worry about Beckett's back until I see him pitch this weekend. As for Varitek, I've resigned myself to the fact that he will most likely start at least one game no matter how much I don't want him to. The one consolation is that Martinez will still be in those games and that double-play machine called Mike Lowell will start the game on the bench. Don't get me wrong, I love Mike Lowell but he is having a hard time getting down to first base.
What I'm trying to figure right now is who is going to be on our playoff roster. We know who our regulars are, I'm more concerned about the bench which is much deeper this year than it was last year. Last year we had almost no power or speed coming off the bench. Thankfully the Sox have Rocco this year and with the threat of facing two left-handed starters against the Angels - Kazmir and Saunders - its a cinch he'll get a start versus one of them. When Mike Lowell was injured last year the Sox were forced to have Mark Kotsay in the lineup. If Lowell cannot play this time around Francona has Youkilis to plug in at third with Martinez playing an adequate first base.
It is a safe bet that the Sox are definitely taking the following players with them to the postseason:

Lineup: Ellsbury, Pedroia, Martinez, Youkilis, Ortiz, Bay, Drew, Lowell, Gonzalez.
Bench: Baldelli, Varitek.
Pitchers: Lester, Beckett, Buchholz, Matsuzaka, Papelbon, Bard, Okajima, Wagner, Ramirez.


I want to put either Delcarmen or Saito on that list but I'm unsure who is the better pitcher right now. Delcarmen has been terrible lately. In his last seven innings he has given up fifteen hits, walked eight and allowed eleven runs. Yikes! Saito has been better, pitching nine and two-thirds, with twelve hits but only ONE run. Saito has also struck out eleven batter. In my mind Saito is the much better pitcher right, despite Delcarmen success in postseasons past. I'm sure one the two will go.
That leaves four more spots. If Nick Green was healthy, he would surely make the roster. I've been giving him crap for his defense all year when he was the starting shortstop but his ability to play many positions makes him a must. If he is unable to play, the Sox are going to have to either bring Jed Lowrie or Chris Woodward. Chris Woodward is more versatile in that he can play more positions but he is not an offensive threat. Jed Lowrie, in my opinion, is not yet healthy enough to be relied upon. I would take Woodward and hope he doesn't have to hit.
With the last three spots I would take Joey Gathright for speed and outfield depth, Casey Kotchman to play first and be a left-handed hitter off the bench and Paul Byrd just in case on of the starters gets knocked out early. In the past the Sox have carried three catchers but I think that was because none of them could hit worth a damn. This year, with Martinez behind the plate, I think there is only need for Varitek to back him up and get maybe one start.

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