Proposal for a 6-Man Rotation

I recently read on a blog that the reason Daisuke looked like a different pitcher Monday might have had to do with his getting more rest.  I wondered if there was any correlation between days of rest and pitchers' performances so I scoured and pulled out these numbers on our five starting pitchers.  I also threw in Wakefield for good measure.  All are based on the pitcher's career stats and in general the 4-day rest scenario accounted for about 20% more games than the 5-days' rest scenario. No one did noticeably better with less than 4 or more than 5 days' rest.


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ERA Opponents' BA Opponents' OPS WHIP SO/BB
4 days 4.26 0.257 0.74 1.307 2.8
5 days 3.83 0.242 0.685 1.17 3.6
4 days 3.98 0.250 0.709 1.317 2.15
5 days 3.05 0.241 0.665 1.388 1.53
4 days 3.60 0.252 0.683 1.289 2.78
5 days 3.30 0.241 0.667 1.271 2.48
4 days 3.82 0.264 0.718 1.319 2.7
5 days 3.94 0.264 0.737 1.309 2.61
4 days 4.76 0.256 0.745 1.471 1.82
5 days 3.88 0.244 0.765 1.381 1.99
4 days 4.29 0.270 0.820 1.316 1.83
5 days 4.55 0.231 0.697 1.406 4.0

Now while I acknowledge that that data aren't clear-cut, the general pattern seems to be that Beckett, Buchholz and Dice-K perform significantly better on five day's rest that on four, that Lester performs somewhat better and that Lackey probably performs marginally WORSE with four days rest, depending on which statistic you prioritize.  The same is true of Wake.

I'm wondering if others draw the same conclusion.  If true it means that if the Sox were willing to pop Wakefield or Aceves (when he comes back) or Albers/Achison into the rotation 2 out of 3 cycles--18 or 20 starts over the course of the season (rain-outs and days off helping take the "sixth day" every third time through the rotation on average), there could be some real benefits:




1. it could dramatically enhance the effectiveness of DiceK, help bolster Beckett's comeback, prevent Buch from regressing too far or too quickly and keep Lester stronger the whole season.

2. It could give you a good look at the future options for Aceves and the current value of Wakefield

3. 4 fewer starts could mean less wear and tear on the starters over a long season and possibly prevent injuries.

4. More rest between starts could mean the starters could go deeper into the game and take higher pitch counts.

and some cons

1.Having Lester pitch 4 fewer times gives the ball to a lesser (but better rested!) pitcher.

2. Wakefield is certainly a shaky option and Aceves is untested as a starter--though they were options many were starting to say they preferred before DiceK's last start.

3. Pulling one arm out of the bullpen puts more pressure on the other 6 guys to pitch regularly and perform well, and leaves little capacity for mop-up.

All that said, I think that even if it were tried and had to be modified due to injuries, double-headers etc it could be beneficial whenever it is in operation and definitely worth it for Dice, Beckett and Buch.

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