FORT MYERS, Fla. — With the final few days of spring training upon us, the regulars are going through their last repetitions in an effort to hit the ground running April 1 (or March 31, when the season attempts to begin).
For the Red Sox, that means giving guys like David Ortiz a start in every game, sending relievers to the minor league camp to get in work that would be unavailable in a big league game and stretching the starters out to a pitch count close to what they will give in the regular season.
It is said a thousand times every spring training: Results don't matter. While it may be true in most cases, one can always find cause for concern in some of the results that come during this critical period. For Boston, that doesn't necessarily lie in the fact that it has dropped eight straight Grapefruit League games entering play Saturday, but more so what has led to some of those losses.
In their last significant tune-up of the spring (each will be scaled back significantly in their next outing), the quartet of Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett combined to give up 21 earned runs (27 overall) on 33 hits in just 20 2/3 innings, good for a 9.15 ERA. Seven of the 33 hits were home runs.
Each pitcher felt fine physically, which is the important thing, and each was able to take something positive from their otherwise uneven performances. Last week, we took a look at how some of Boston's rivals in the American League East Division are attempting to iron out their rotation. Now, let's see if those rotations had better, or worse, weeks than Boston's.