Monday, March 29, 2010
Terry Francona released his pitchers for the first few games of the regular season. It wasn’t surprising. Frankly, the only thing I found surprising was the number of people who were surprised.
Josh Beckett is getting the nod on Opening Day. That was pretty straightforward. The way everyone on the Red Sox talks about him being the staff “ace” there should have been little doubt. As long as he’s healthy, he’s on the hill. You could argue that Lester has been pitching better, but that’s not the point. The ace is so much more than the best pitcher. It’s everything that Josh Beckett is.
Lester fell into the second slot. Again, no shocker there. Nor was it an amazing revelation that the new guy would be in the third spot. Even if Dice-K had been healthy, it would have been tough to put him in front of Lackey. With Dice out, Wakefield moves up a slot into the number 4 spot. This is where people were actually surprised. Some people actually seemed to think that Buchholz would get this spot? Really? I actually saw people in Chad Finns chat asking where Wake got the nerve to suggest he should be in the rotation. Of course he’s in the rotation. He was an all-star last year…as a starting pitcher. If he’s healthy, what argument could you possibly make for keeping him in the pen? It’s certainly not the guy in the fifth spot. With Dice out, Clay Buchholz is keeping his spot warm for him. It’s the exactly rotation I would have drawn up last month. (Well, I would have had Dice at 4…but you get the idea) Where do people get the idea that Clay has earned a spot? It’s that annoying potential thing again.
Tim Wakefield is an All-Star. He’s third all-time on the Red Sox in career wins. He’s proven that he can pitch in the big leagues. Clay? He’s proven that he could maybe pitch in the big leagues. He’s shown flashes of what might be. He’s also shown flashes of complete incompetence. What does that body of work mean he can push out a reigning All-Star? I’ll give you. If Clay were in Kansas City, he’d be in the rotation. It’s too bad that he’s not, just because he’s in Boston. Is that a reason to put him in though? Because it’s not fair? Before we dwell on poor Clay and the crummy luck he had being stuck behind five other starters, let’s remember something. Clay is 25 years old. Jon Lester is 26. There’s about 8 months between them. Why is Lester in the rotation, and Clay not? Because Lester has shown that he deserves to be there. Lester wasn’t blocked by veterans. He knocked down the door, and took his spot. He made it so that the Sox couldn’t not put him in the rotation. Clay hasn’t done that. He’s not close. Until he does, he’ll have to be happy with his time in the ‘pen, or AAA. While he’s there, he needs to show without a shadow of a doubt that he should force Wake out of the way. That’s the only way he’ll earn a spot.
Unless he’s traded to San Diego.
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