The Boston Red Sox were entering this weekend’s pivotal series against the Chicago White Sox with one TBD in their rotation.
Now, there are two.
Chris Sale tested positive for COVID-19, NESN’s Tom Caron learned Friday, meaning he’ll be scratched from Sunday’s start. Now, for the three-game set against the American League Central-leading White Sox, Tanner Houck pitching Friday is the only definite.
So, what are the Red Sox’s options for Saturday and Sunday?
One obvious answer is Connor Seabold, who is with the team in Chicago after being added to the taxi squad. He long had seemed like a logical fit for Saturday since he hasn’t pitched since Sept. 4 and thus is rested enough to go this weekend. It would be his big league debut, but Seabold is a high-upside pitching prospect who has lit up Triple-A this season.
Nick Pivetta also is on the COVID-19 list, but he is vaccinated and theoretically could be in line to return soon. If he isn’t ready, moving Eduardo Rodriguez up a day and having him pitch Sunday might be an option.
Should the Red Sox go the spot start route, then their best option might be Kutter Crawford, who is slated to pitch Friday night in Worcester. The WooSox could scratch him Friday, and he could pitch Sunday for Boston, but that is a decision that would need to be made quickly.
No matter what, there are a lot of moving pieces. Seabold on Saturday seems to make sense, followed by, in likely order of preference, Pivetta, Rodriguez or Crawford on Sunday.
But like we’ve learned this season, everything can change real quick.