BOSTON (CBS) – A starting rotation decision looms for the Red Sox.
Tuesday night, Aaron Cook was hit hard by the Los Angeles Angels, surrendering five runs (four earned) on 11 hits over just five innings of work in Boston’s 5-3 loss. He dropped to 3-7 on the season, and is just 1-6 with a 6.35 ERA over his last eight starts. Overall, Boston is 4-7 when Cook starts this season.
Also on Tuesday night, Daisuke Matsuzaka made his fifth rehab start for the Pawtucket Red Sox, and turned in his best performance of the current stint. The injured Sox righty went seven scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and four walks to go with seven strikeouts. Matsuzaka is 1-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his last five rehab outings, which could lead to his return to the majors.
Both are scheduled to pitch on Sunday. Whether it’s against the Kansas City Royals, the Charlotte Knights, or no one at all is up to the Red Sox brass.
Manager Bobby Valentine said it is far too early to make a decision, but it’s not one that is concerning the 33-year-old Cook.
“Nope, not one bit,” he said following Tuesday’s loss. “It’s not my decision. I’m just going to take the ball and throw when they tell me. Whatever happens happens.”
While neither Cook or Matsuzaka have been all that impressive in the big leagues this season (Matsuzaka is 0-3 with a 6.65 ERA in five starts), Valentine and pitching coach Randy Niemann will have to determine who gives Boston the best chance at winning. The team is desperate for W’s, and are not getting them right with Cook (or most of their starters for that matter) on the hill.
Chances are they won’t get many wins with Matsuzaka on the mound either, but his recent strong showing in Pawtucket should earn him at least another start with the Red Sox.
Matsuzaka will be a free agent after the season, and will be showcasing his talents for his next MLB contract (if there is one out there). He would likely join the team anyways with the September 1 call-ups, but his Tuesday start may have sped the process up by a week.