Given the massive number of injuries to Red Sox bats, much of the credit for the team’s ability to hang around in the AL East has to go to the pitching staff.
Still, Sox arms have not gone unscathed, with Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Manny Delcarmen missing time. The remaining pieces at the front end of the rotation, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Clay Buchholz, though, deserve the highest praise, accounting for 30 of the team’s 50 wins.
Lester currently leads the team with 11 wins and has arguably been the team’s most dominant starter. He has led the Sox with 120 innings thrown, and has struck out 124 batters, more than one per inning. His ERA of 2.78 puts him sixth in the AL, a ranking that would actually be the worst of his career. Perhaps his most impressive statistic, though, is his hits-per-nine-innings, 6.5, which leads the AL.
Lackey, who got off to a mediocre start to the season, has since been a model of consistency, winning five of his past six decisions. If he continues his current form, his tally of nine wins will likely elevate quickly, perhaps even so much as to challenge Lester and Buchholz for the team lead. His 17 starts for the Sox is second only to Lester’s 18, as is his 108 innings pitched.
Buchholz, with 10 wins, is having by far the best full season of his young career. With an ERA of 2.45, he has given the Sox a chance to win in nearly every outing, and his Adjusted ERA, a statistic designed to adjust for ballparks, is the best in the AL. Still, he has pitched only 92 innings and is currently on the 15-day DL with a strained hamstring. The Sox co-ace is expected to make a healthy return directly after the All-Star break.
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