As Depth Declines, Red Sox Need Halladay More Than Ever

by abournenesn

Jul 30, 2009

As Depth Declines, Red Sox Need Halladay More Than Ever Brad Penny changed my mind.

For weeks, I’ve been saying don’t trade for Roy Halladay. I have held firm in the belief that the Red Sox had enough pitching. I have lobbied for the acquisition of additional offense, saying the Sox should only consider moving top prospects for an impact bat like Victor Martinez or Adrian Gonzalez.

After what I’ve seen in recent days, after what we saw last night, I’ve reconsidered. The Red Sox were once lauded for their incredible pitching depth, but that depth is in question in these final hours before the non-waiver trade deadline.

Last night, Penny gave up five runs in the first inning against the last-place A’s. It was a 37-pitch inning, and while he was able to settle down for a five-inning night of work, that heavy workload to start the night kept him to another short start. He has now gone 20 starts without throwing seven innings. It’s the longest such streak in all of Major League Baseball.

On Friday, John Smoltz takes the mound looking for his second win with the Red Sox. Boston has lost five of his six starts. He has pitched six innings in only one of those six starts.

Like Smoltz, Tim Wakefield is 42 years old. He is currently on the disabled list with a strained lower back, his third trip to the DL in the last four seasons.

Clay Buchholz is only 24 years old and has taken Wakefield’s spot in the rotation. He has made three starts, and hasn’t gone six innings in any of his three starts yet.

And Daisuke Matsuzaka is in Ft. Myers, essentially starting his preseason training over again. He has also complained to media back in Japan that he doesn’t like the limits on throwing the Sox have placed on his pitching routine.

That’s a boatload of pitchers not producing right now. A team that has relied on its pitching staff all season long is suddenly looking for help on the mound.

We know Halladay is the best available pitcher, quite possibly the best pitcher period. With Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, he would give the Red Sox the best top-of-rotation combination in all of baseball. Pitching wins championships, and the Sox have good pitching. With Halladay, they would have great pitching.

Remember that magical season of 2004? As Boston languished around the .500 mark for three months, we knew the one-two combination of Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling gave them a chance to win it all. They made it to the postseason as the AL wild card and ended an 86-year championship drought.

I admit I am late to the “we want Halladay” party. Very late. But I am on board now. The Sox need a spark, and the Toronto ace would light a fire in Red Sox Nation. Theo Epstein has pulled the trigger on July 31 blockbusters in the past. This would rank up there with the best of them.

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