The Boston Red Sox have really been on a roll lately, winning their sixth straight last night and improving to 23-20 on the year. While the team has done very well as a whole lately, the pitching staff got some pretty discouraging news earlier this week.
We received word that both John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka were being placed on the 15-day disabled list. Lackey has an "elbow strain", but Red Sox fans speculate that Lackey needed a break from the game to get his head straight. Meanwhile, Dice-K goes on the D.L. with elbow issues of his own after showing little-to-no control in his last start against Baltimore.
As a whole, the Red Sox lost two of their five starting pitchers to injury. While Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz have been excellent this season; the Red Sox pitching staff has taken a huge hit.
The men who will be replacing Lackey and Dice-K in the rotation will be Tim Wakefield and Alfredo Aceves, who have been pitching out of the Boston bullpen as long relievers. Wakefield has started two games this season. One back in April against Seattle, when he gave up only three hits and an earned run in five and two thirds innings of work, and a rather less impressive effort against Minnesota, which saw him allow eight runs (six earned) without escaping the fifth. Aceves has yet to start a game, but is 1-0 with a 2.60 ERA out of the bullpen.
Wakefield has been primarily a starter over his career with the Red Sox, but was booted to the bullpen in favor of John Lackey last season. Over his career, Wake is 193-173 with a career 4.39 ERA. However, since his All-Star first half in 2009, Wake has had his fair share of implosions.
Wake spent time in both the pen and the rotation in 2010--going 4-10 with a 5.34 ERA. At age 44, it will be interesting to see if Wake will be able to hold down the fort. He will take the ball on Sunday against the Cubs
Alfredo Aceves was signed by the Red Sox this offseason with the expectation that he would become a starter. He spent almost his entire career with the Yankees as a middle reliever, and has since converted into a starter in his short time down in AAA Pawtucket, though he's mainly acted as a reliever with the Red Sox.
Aceves is a career 15-1 with a 3.14 ERA with not even 150 innings to his name. While I am a big fan of Aceves, he will certainly be tested as a starter with the Red Sox, as they will likely ask him to pitch five or six innings a start. This season, he is 1-0 with a 2.60 ERA in 17 innings of work out of the bullpen. He will get the start on Saturday against the Cubs.
These two will certainly be tested as they will be asked to hold down the back end of the rotation. With the Red Sox on a six-game winning streak and starting to heat up, they can't afford to have their momentum killed because of pitching issues. In addition to Wakefield and Aceves, the Red Sox decided to bring in Kevin Millwood to provide depth in Pawtucket.
The question is: With injuries to John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka, can we truely rely on Wakefield and Aceves to hold the fort down in the back end of the rotation?
So what say you, Over the Monster? How confident are that Alfredo Aceves and Tim Wakefield can fill in adequately in the Red Sox rotation? We want to hear from you.