FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 14: Pitcher Alfredo Aceves #91 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the New York Yankees during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at City of Palms Park on March 14, 2011 in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
There's a certain level of calm that comes with a rained out game. Everyone is ready for a game, with fans in the stands and at their televisions, players warmed up, and media members expecting material for a 12-hour news cycle.
Yesterday, fans found themselves with three hours of free time. Players went home without swinging a bat. And media members improvised.
So we have no reaction tonight. No telling quotes from players or staff. No reflections on the series or much in the way of preview for the next--that comes in the next twelve hours. So with the volume lacking, we'll instead be taking a look at one of the more pertinent issues: the Rotation.
Back In Boston
Tonight's rainout was perfectly timed. Wakefield on the mound, Daisuke headed to the disabled list, and nobody sure who was going to end up where. With the game being rained out, however, the Sox instead have Clay Buchholz going and a few days to get things set up.
Unfortunately, things still aren't going to be perfect. Felix Doubront is hurt, if not terribly, and won't be pitching for the Red Sox for probably at least a couple of weeks. And with the league being the way it is, the Sox aren't going to find many willing trade partners this early on, as much as they may need one.
And so it is that the team turns to Alfredo Aceves, leaving Tim Wakefield in the mix as well. The good news is that this is what the Sox got Aceves for in the first place, and have managed to keep him somewhat stretched out as the season has gone on. Meanwhile, Wakefield is Wakefield, and can either shut down a team or blow up on any given night.
Is this a sustainable situation for the Sox? Probably not. We don't know how good Aceves will be as a starter yet, but he does seem like the reliable back-end guy. While being bounced around as much as he has hasn't been great for his numbers, he's not the kind of guy who's going to kill you with walks or homers. Instead, he'll leave it up to his defense, and that's something the Sox can be pretty confident in.
The real problem, though, is Wakefield. On any given night, he can shut an opponent down. But he's also just as prone to the implosion, and what are the Red Sox to do when that happens? Go to their long reliever? Both of them are in the rotation now! With a long period coming up without a day off, letting Wakefield start is basically playing with fire. If Felix, Lackey, or Daisuke aren't back sometime soon, the Sox may have to make a trade happen.
Of course, it also has to be considered just how big of a difference this all makes. Consider Daisuke Matsuzaka: a 5.30 ERA, a 5.49 xFIP, and barely averaging five innings per start. And how about John Lackey? An 8.01 ERA, a 5.59 xFIP, and only a few more total innings than Daisuke. Can Wakefield and Aceves really be worse? It's not exactly comforting pointing to our 21-20 start as a ground floor, but we managed to get this far with them at the back of the rotation. I guess the question is less whether Aceves and Wakefield are acceptable replacements, and more whether the Sox need to look for a couple new starters if the pair don't show much improvement shortly after their eventual returns.
What say you, Over The Monster? Have you any confidence in either bunch?
(Rest of the links after the jump)
Spoilers: It's a groin strain. But really this piece is more about Bowden's fine start to the year.
I'm just a week-or-so removed from calling Bobby Jenks the next coming of Eric Gagne, but I still think he can be a really valuable part of the pen. While he'll have to get past the pleasant surprise that is Matt Albers at this point, but he was signed for a reason. Jenks had great peripherals last year, and the reason he's been terrible right now is part .448 BABIP, but mostly a massive walk rate. Jenks has seemingly lost his ability to throw strikes--particularly on the first pitch--but there has to be a why, and I don't think it's because this is just his year to fall off a cliff. If the Sox can find that why and work it out of him, the Sox could get their money's worth after all.
Minihane seems to be a pretty harsh grader to begin with, but it's in the descriptions that I take some issue. Why was Jenks signed? See above. Marco Scutaro's contract a failed attempt to buy high? He's not been what he was in 2009, but I think people forget that he wasn't actually paid like that. The Sox could well have Scutaro come back next year on his option and have a pretty strong super-sub player on fair money.
Sometimes they just don't work out.
Around The AL East
Toronto is rained out too, so that makes 3-of-5.
If their losing streak had to end, at least it ends against the Rays.
Wherein Jarrod Saltalamacchia is clearly not an answer.
MLB In General
How do you feel about the back end of the rotation?
Alfredo and Wakefield can hold down the fort until Lackey and Daisuke get better. (118 votes)
We need at least a temporary solution, but Daisuke and Lackey can't be this bad all season. (116 votes)
Let Alfredo/Wakefield/both take over for Lackey/Daisuke/both permanently! (31 votes)
Time for a complete overhaul. Go out and get me some pitchers, Theo! (63 votes)
328 total votes