There was thought that Daisuke Matsuzaka's latest start might force an alteration to the Red Sox rotation. Mother Nature offered her two cents.
After rain postponed Wednesday's meeting with the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park, Boston has chosen to skip John Lackey in the rotation and bump Matsuzaka back a day. After a day off Thursday, Clay Buchholz will go in the opener of a four-game series with Toronto on Friday, followed by Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Matsuzaka in the traditional Patriot's Day affair on Monday morning.
Lackey, who was scheduled to start against the Rays on Wednesday night, will go in Oakland next Tuesday in the opener of a nine-game road trip.
The shuffle affects Lackey, but provides minimal impact on the rotation overall.
"Basically, Lackey's missing a turn so we don't have to have guys go on a week rest," manager Terry Francona said. "It's not perfect for him, but we try to map it out to where it helps him. But rather than have five guys pushed back too much, we'll take one start and have [Lackey] start in Oakland, where he's had some success."
The change gives Buchholz five days off between starts. Beckett gets the same, while Lester will have the customary four day's rest. Matsuzaka, who gave up seven runs in two-plus innings Monday vs. Tampa Bay, will have six days between his outings. Lackey will have 10 days off.
Lackey, who sports a hefty 15.58 ERA after two starts in 2011, is 17-5 with a 2.90 ERA against the Athletics. He is 8-4 with a 2.92 mark at Oakland Coliseum.