Larry Lucchino: Red Sox Have Backup Plan If Rotation Keeps Struggling


Apr 30, 2015

Larry Lucchino is optimistic. He’s also realistic.

The Boston Red Sox president/CEO made it clear Thursday on WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan” that while it’s probably still too early to pass judgment on the team’s struggling starting rotation, the organization definitely has a backup plan if the unit doesn’t turn things around.

“Of course there is because it’s a long season,” Lucchino said. “You have to have some potential help from your pitching in Triple-A in every season. I think we have some pretty good arms down there and Pawtucket is actually leading the league, part because the pitching has been quite effective down there. There’s that backup plan and then there is another backup plan.

“There’s an old saying, ‘I don’t cross tie my shoes without a backup plan.’ There has to be a backup plan. Third, of course is to acquire some pitching down the road when the opportunity comes for trades. That’s not really generally the case in April.”

The Red Sox’s rotation entered Thursday with a major league-worst 5.75 ERA. Rick Porcello pitched well Wednesday and each of Boston’s five starters has shown promise at one point or another, but the overall results have been disappointing to this point, especially with the Red Sox remaining committed to the quintet throughout spring training despite outside cries for the club to trade for an “ace.”

Clay Buchholz’s inconsistency is a microcosm of the rotation’s performance as a whole, as the right-hander has had two very good starts, two awful starts and one decent start. Lucchino, however, can’t help but look at the positives Buchholz has shown in his five outings.

“I’m actually optimistic about Buchholz and I am not known for my optimism in general,” Lucchino said. “I watched him the other night and I was amazed at the movement on his pitches. He has great stuff. Some would say that he left his pitches over the middle of the plate too often, and apparently that was the case because he was hit pretty hard. I think if you just watch his pitches and you see what he can do, you wouldn’t want to give up on a player, a pitcher with that kind of talent, that kind of stuff.

“It does come down to stuff, both pitching stuff and the right stuff in your head and your body. I think he’s shown in the past that he has it and I think it would be terribly wrong to give up on Buchholz.”

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told earlier this week Boston “definitely” would focus on solving its starting pitching woes internally before making any major trades.

That seems to suggest pitchers like Brian Johnson, Eduardo Rodriguez, Henry Owens, Matt Barnes and Steven Wright comprise Boston’s Plan B, whereas Cole Hamels, Johnny Cueto and whatever other big name starters become available represent Plan C.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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