Red Sox Mailbag: Uncertain Starting Rotation Could Open Door For Red Sox Minor Leaguers

Red Sox Mailbag: Uncertain Starting Rotation Could Open Door For Red Sox Minor LeaguersThe trade deadline has come and gone. It's now time for the new-look Red Sox to barrel through the dog days of summer. We will barrel through right along with them, complete with a weekly dive into the mailbag. Here is the latest edition.

1. With Clay Buchholz possibly out for the remainder of the season, do you think Felix Doubront will be summoned to the majors, and is it likely that Anthony Ranaudo will be promoted to Portland by season's end?
— Mike

Felix Doubront is currently on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, the latest in a series of injuries from him this year. When healthy, he's certainly an option, but he just keeps getting hurt. The lefty has been limited to 13 starts for Pawtucket. We know the organization likes his stuff, and he sports a 3.28 ERA in those 13 starts, so don't count him out. At the very least, he's a September call-up. Before then, it will depend upon his health and the health/effectiveness of those on the big club.

Anthony Ranaudo has a 5.12 ERA at high Single-A Salem. He's pitched a bit better than that number, but the organization is in no rush with him. Unless there is some major shuffling down the stretch, don't expect him to get his taste of Double-A till 2012.

2. With Erik Bedard's injury history, we could be in the same boat in a month or two. Granted, when healthy, he is one of the better pitchers around. Did the Red Sox look at Matt Garza at all? We would have been better off with Garza, at least he is more reliable healthwise.
— DeLaNord
The Chicago Tribune reported back in early July that Matt Garza was high on the Red Sox' list for potential trade targets. It doesn't seem as if it gained a lot of steam, and the Cubs, for whatever reason, seemed intent on hanging onto their veteran pieces. Garza is under team control for two more years after 2011, so you can see why Chicago would like to try to keep him and attempt to build their rotation around him going forward.

3. No question, Tony. Just want to tell you how much I like your blog. Your sense of humor and sarcasm are a treat. Sometimes I laugh until I cry. Not many writers can affect me that way. Thanks!
— Sherry
Thanks, Sherry. Tell your friends, and don't cry.

4. Hey Tony. With the acquisition of Mike Aviles on Saturday, does this mean Jed Lowrie might be spending some time in Pawtucket even after his rehab stint is done?
— SoxFan34
No. Drew Sutton was optioned Tuesday to make room for Erik Bedard, so that means the team is carrying 13 pitchers right now. They need another body off the bench, and Jed Lowrie is that guy. He will work out at Fenway on Wednesday and then play at least two more games for Pawtucket. Provided everything goes well, he could be activated this weekend or early next week.

5. Hi Tony. I'm a huge Red Sox fan. Do you think with us vs. the Yankees this weekend Terry Francona should push the rotation back so we have Jon Lester pitching on Friday?
— Joe

Hi Joe. Terry Francona has already obliged. The matchups for the much-anticipated Yankees series are: Lester-Colon, Lackey-Sabathia and Beckett-Garcia. This was done in part to get Lester into that series, but also to make sure Erik Bedard's debut, which will see him on a limited pitch count, does not come in the pressure cooker of a series with New York.

6. Because of how many runs the offense is consistently putting up and how they lead the league in run differential, do you think Jonathan Papelbon will feel like he is not really needed and seek to leave after the season is over?
— Jackson

We do not know yet what will happen with Jonathan Papelbon after the season is over, but I can assure you that if he leaves, it is not because he feels he is not needed. You are right about one thing: Papelbon has not had consistent save opportunities. He has appeared in 25 save situations and 19 non-save situations. Last year, those numbers were a more normal 45 and 20, respectively. But I'm sure Papelbon is as excited as anyone with the run production. Even if save totals were that important to him, he's still on pace for over 30.

7. Hi Tony. This may be a stupid question, but I don't know where to find a bumper sticker SOX FOR LIFE. It comes up after the NESN commercials during ballgames. I have relatives from all over the country asking me to get them these bumper stickers. Please help, I don't have a clue. It doesn't show up on the Red Sox networks.
— Sandy

Not sure if this is what you are looking for. Hope it works. I have an annoying neighbor with a bunch of Red Sox stuff on his van. Would love to steal some of those for you, just to mess with him. Let me know.

8. Were the Red Sox ever looking at Doug Fister? His stats seemed good aside from the fact that he got no run support.
— Kevin

I'm sure that if Doug Fister was available, they kicked the tires. However, he has often been viewed as a guy whose numbers would suffer if he left Safeco Field. Spacious Comerica Park, his new home, should play into his hand, and getting a few more runs can't hurt.

9. Hey Tony, I have noticed there have been three or four long rain delay games this year that resulted in extra-inning contests with low scores. Do you think that there is any higher probability of extra innings when there are rain delays due to the hitters being a bit cold after waiting around until the delay was over? I imagine it messes up their routine.
— Cadel

I think that's a pretty good theory. Impossible to quantify, but it makes some sense. I think the Red Sox might argue your point, however. In many of those games they had no problem whatsoever getting guys on base in the extra innings. They just struggled severely when they needed that big hit. Next time we get one of those (hopefully in 2044, when I'm retired) I'll run it by some of the fellas.

10. Can you explain to me why Jacoby Ellsbury always shows bunt on the first pitch of the game? Is he just teasing the other team?
–Kevin Ladd

Just keeping them honest. Jacoby Ellsbury hasn't bunted for a hit much, if at all, this season. But with his speed, he's always a threat, and he wants the other team to remember that. If it means he is able to slap the ball past a drawn-in third baseman (he almost never does that either, but you get my point), it cannot hurt.

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