Red Sox

Roche: Where Did The Red Sox Rotation Go?

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Red Sox pitchers John Lackey, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield.

Red Sox pitchers John Lackey, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield.

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Boston Red Sox

BOSTON (CBS) – Remember back in February when the talk of Red Sox camp was how deep the Red Sox pitching rotation was? The problem was you had six starters for five spots.

Tim Wakefield was going to be the odd man out.

Josh Beckett was the biggest question mark of the staff. Could he bounce back from a tough 2010 season?

Now as we hit the All-Star break, the Sox starting rotation has caught the injury bug that went through the regulars last season.

Jon Lester’s left lat strain scare is the latest casualty. The hope is that he misses one or two starts. Anything more and you lose the stopper on your staff.

Meanwhile, Clay Buchholz is seeking another opinion on his back injury that has put him on the shelf since mid-June. No matter what the results are, he’ll need some time to get back to full strength.

Read/Listen: Scott Lauber Talks Sox Injuries With DA

We know Daisuke Matsuzaka is done.

John Lackey is a shell of the stud we saw with the LA Angels. He’s doing everything he can to keep away from Tommy John surgery. Can he ever get back to the pitcher we saw with the Angels? Nope. The question is: can he find a way to be an effective major league pitcher again? Can we see the guy who was brilliant for 7-2/3rds innings in Philly? Can we see that enough where he’s worth not shutting down? Tough call, but we’ll know before July 31st. I can tell you that, as Theo Epstein decides what this Sox team needs to compete for another championship.

That leaves Josh Beckett. 7-3 with a 2.12 ERA and headed to the All-Star game next week. A rock-solid bounce back season and Beckett is pitching rather than just powering right now. That bodes well for years to come.

Also, amazing how Beckett is the only starter from the spring who can be counted on right now. Lester has been that way and let’s hope he is that way in just a few weeks too.

So, now the Sox rely on Tim Wakefield, Alfredo Aceves, and Andrew Miller (how good does that Theo gamble look today?). Those three guys are huge for this team right now and perhaps for the next month or so. Can they do it? Sure. Especially with this offense. July and August are the ideal months for guys who can rake and the Sox have plenty of those bats.

The Red Sox also have Kevin Millwood, Felix Doubront, and others waiting in the minor leagues to help.

So, we watch for the next 24 days or so to see how these question marks play out. At that point Theo will have a better idea on if he has to pull the trigger on a deal to help his starting staff or if he at least needs to acquire a veteran arm or two by trade or waivers.

These things have a way of working themselves out and make no mistake; they will.

I’m just curious to see what this starting rotation will look like. Although, we do know it will definitely look a lot different from the one we talked about just a few short months ago down in Fort Myers.

That’s what makes baseball so interesting. The starting line, the race, and the finish line are as unpredictable as they come.

Try to enjoy the ride.

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