Jon Lester, John Lackey Should Get First Starting Spots As Red Sox Set Postseason Rotation

Clay BuchholzIt’s getting close to the time when the only thing left between the Red Sox and the playoffs will be calendar days, as Boston will likely punch its ticket to the postseason within a few games.

That means people can start wondering which members of the Red Sox will be on the postseason roster — and especially which ones will be filling out the rotation. Boston is blessed with a glut of great pitching, from the return of early-season ace Clay Buchholz to the resurgent Jon Lester to new arrival Jake Peavy to this season’s most dependable starter, the surprising John Lackey. That’s even without looking at the dominant stretch Felix Doubront put up before tiring near the end of the regular season.

Manager John Farrell has a lot to weigh as he decides who to pencil in as his rotation members and No. 1 starter. Let’s take a look at that and more in this week’s mailbag.

What would your postseason rotation be right now?
– Tony Mollison

I would probably go with Lester, Lackey and Buchholz, and if the Red Sox feel they need a fourth, I would likely go with Peavy.

If Buchholz continues to gain arm strength and pitch as well as he has, is there any reason why he shouldn’t take the hill in Game 1 of a playoff series? Everything I’m reading says Lester is still the consensus pick to start Game 1. Lester’s been great, but no one has been as dominant as Clay this year. What do you think?
– Bill Bradley

I think he has been great but needs to sort of settle in after the long layoff. These first few starts have been a feeling-out process, and I am guessing he will only improve with each one he gets under his belt. However, I think Lester and Lackey have stayed strong all year, and both know how to bring it up a notch in postseason baseball.

Where is Felix Doubront going to end up in the playoffs?
– Jeremy Isaac Hiltz

I have always thought the bullpen was a good option for Doubront, only because he has worked out of the bullpen at the major league level in the past, and I think he could make the easiest transition of all the starters to return there. The question is: Do the Red Sox need another left-handed reliever? As it stands, they have four already in the ‘pen. Hard to tell at this point who makes the playoff roster.

How much playing time do you think Mike Carp will see in the playoffs?
– Jay Palaima

I think it will remain consistent during the postseason. I do not see Farrell changing his thought process in the playoffs. I think Mike Carp‘s role has been defined, and he has thrived in it. I understand he could play every day for some other teams, but right now, right here, this works, and he will likely play a large role late in games off the bench.

Who would you like to see the Red Sox play in the World Series?
– Ruth Gray

This is purely for theater purposes, but I think a Dodgers-Red Sox series would be pretty cool.

When is Ben Cherington going to get some credit for the great team that we have? I never hear his name mentioned at all.
– Little Vivian

Great point. I have mentioned this a few times and agree. He has done an amazing job of changing the entire culture of the team and has had great success in a very short period of time, but yet, he does not seem to receive the credit he should. This is far more success than any of us expected in spring training. We knew the team consisted of great character guys but had no idea if that would translate into wins. It has, and Cherington was masterful in putting all the pieces together for this great season.

What is the chance the Red Sox re-sign Mike Napoli?
– Mike Bertolini

I think fairly good. I think he wants to be here, and I think they like a lot of what he brings to the table. He has been extremely healthy, which of course was the original concern and set back the original contract. I am sure they will re-evaluate his hip condition and move forward accordingly. All that said, I think they will get something done.

Did you ever find the lizard in your room?
– Karen Hooper Rumrill

No, I did not. He is either still in one of my bags and has made his way home with me to Rhode Island, or he hid really well in my room in St. Pete for the next guest to check in. He never reappeared.

You’ve followed Mariano Rivera for a long time. What’s the one word to describe his career?
– Christopher Sadler

Class.

What is your favorite Pedro Martinez moment?
– Michael Hebert

I forget what year, but it was early 2000s. We were at Yankee Stadium, and the Sox had several players hit during the series, and Pedro was starting the last game of the series. He started the game by hitting both Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano. He always had his teammates’ back, and I know that all of his teammates always appreciated and knew that he did. We talked about that incident in an earlier in-game visit with Dennis Eckersley in June.