The starting rotation has been the Red Sox? biggest question mark all season long.
Not because of its lack of production. No, in fact, it?s been the
exact opposite. The problem is that there are too many arms and not
enough spots in the rotation.
Two spots are set in stone: Tim Wakefield and Josh Beckett are secure in the starting five (or six).
As for Jon Lester, well, he?s been the definition
of ?lights out? over his last few outings. And despite a rain-shortened
loss to the Marlins, he?s let it be known that he is one of the most
dominant lefties in the game today.
Then there?s Brad Penny. What more could you ask
for out of this guy? He came into the season labeled as injury prone,
but despite all of the negative press, Penny has been a soldier all
year long! He?s pitched deep into games taking some of the pressure off
of the bullpen, and despite the strength of the Boston pen, help is
But with the assignment of Daisuke Matsuzaka to the 15-day DL, John Smoltz
has been able to slide into his ever-so-familiar starting role, which
so far has proven to be a good thing. Smoltz did get roughed up in his
first outing of the year against the Nationals, but once he settled
down, it was smooth sailing from there on out.
The All-Star break is just over a week away and it seems to me that
the Sox staff is looking as good as ever. This team will be a beast to
contend with down the stretch ? that is, if they can manage to keep the
starting arms working as efficiently as they have so far.
All in all, having a surplus of arms is never a bad position to be
in. Look on the bright side: If one goes down, there?s another pitcher
on the bench. And if the arms on the bench get depleted for some
reason, well, there?s plenty of competent young talent just a little
way down Interstate-95!