There are the no-doubters in co-aces Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, but if Game 3 of the ALDS were tomorrow, who would be on the mound?
The answer is probably John Lackey — emphasis on “probably” — with the Game 4 starter being Erik Bedard.
Still, in the final month of the season, things can still change.
One of the keys to any potential change is Andrew Miller. The lanky lefty has settled into a nice groove lately, allowing just one earned run in his last two starts (11 2/3 innings, 0.77 ERA). What’s more is that he recorded nine strikeouts compared to just four walks in those starts, a sign that he’s improved tremendously on the control problems that plagued him earlier in the year.
If Miller goes 4-0 with a 1.79 ERA in September, Terry Francona will have some decisions to make. As it stands right now, though, do you think Miller will help the Red Sox down the stretch and into the playoffs more as a starter or as a reliever?
The numbers are such:
- As a starter, Miller is 6-1 with a 4.33 ERA, 1.654 WHIP, 34 strikeouts, 29 walks and a .286 batting average against.
- As a reliever, Miller is 0-0 with a 6.00 ERA, 2.333 WHIP, five strikeouts, three walks and a .308 batting average against.
Obviously, the numbers strongly suggest that he’s more effective as a starter, but if Lackey and Bedard pitch well, it’ll be hard to secure a spot in that rotation. That will become even more the case if Clay Buchholz is able to pull off some sort of miraculous recovery from his injury.
Of course, if Miller can transfer some of his recent success as a starter into some relief appearances, he can provide the pen with a much-needed lefty arm.
The question is: Do you think he can do it?