Boston --- With the rain coming down at Fenway there will be no baseball played tonight. The series finale between the Red Sox and the Rays has been officially postponed. With a built-in off day tomorrow, the Red Sox will have two full days of no baseball, and quite frankly, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Through the first 11 games they are hitting .230 as a team and have gone 7-52 with runners in scoring position since their second game of the series against New York.
The next two days will allow players to take a step back and exhale, while they reflect on what has been a very disconcerting start to the season. It will also give struggling players like Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury and Kevin Youklis the opportunity to take some hacks in the cages without having the mental stress of a game.
Hopefully after their 48 hour hiatus, the players will come back ready to go against in their four-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays. The good news is that the Sox are 32-22 against the Jays since 2008.
There is no question the Sox have dug themselves into a huge hole, but fortunately my calendar still tells me it’s only April 13.
The biggest question coming back from the break is how Tito will manage the rotation. John Lackey was scheduled to start tonight, with Clay Buchholz getting the ball in the first game of the Toronto series. Although Francona has a little leeway with regards to shuffling the rotation, I don’t think he will do anything drastic.
The ideal situation would be to skip Lackey and go straight to Buchholz on Friday. After Josh Beckett makes his scheduled start in game two of the series, the Red Sox could skip Daisuke Matsuzaka, and go with Jon Lester (who will be on five days rest) on Sunday.
I doubt Terry Francona will do this, having shown his loyalty towards players in the past. However, the Red Sox are 2-9, and desperate times call for desperate measures.
*This just in: Looks like Tito is going for this aggressive approach after all. Lackey will be skipped. No word yet on whether Matuzaka will be moved in favor of Lester on Sunday.*