The Red Sox rotation is pretty much a lock at this point. Curt Schilling has returned to ace form, Tim Wakefield has found his spot with Doug Mirabelli back behind the plate, Josh Beckett is poised to bounce back after a few rough starts, and Matt Clement has been wild but thrown nasty stuff.
That leaves the number five spot in the rotation, a spot once filled by David Wells. Wells said yesterday that he likes how his knee is feeling after injections, but I don't.
I'm sick of Wells' complaining and bickering about stuff that shouldn't even effect him. I don't care what he thinks about Bud Selig or Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds -- do your job and pitch.
Right now, I'd personally rather see Wells retire and have Lenny DiNardo start 30 games this season.
If you look at DiNardo's line from yesterday, you'd think he really struggled. But if you watched the game, you could tell he was getting squeezed at the plate big time. A lot of those at-bats he hit the corner of the plate and just wasn't getting anything from the home umpire.
Besides the walks, however, he pitched quite well. He went five innings, gave up two runs, and struck out five Orioles batters. And, surprisingly, picked up his first career Red Sox win -- despite being on the team two plus years.
If DiNardo faulters -- and I believe he'll get at least one more shot in the rotation -- there are options in Pawtucket the Sox can turn to.
First there is everyone's favorite prospect, Abe Alvarez. Alvarez improved to 5-0 last night against Rochester in a 5-2 victory. Alvarez went 6 strong innings, gave up seven hits, and struck out six batters. He improved his season ERA to a 'nifty' 2.18.
Alvarez has had a couple of stints with Boston -- turning out to be nothing special -- and the Sox front office will probably really want to see what Alvarez can bring to the table this go-around. Would he be a better option than DiNardo? Quite possibley, but his stuff will need to be really good because he only has three pitches: fastball, curveball and changeup. And his fastball tops out at 88, but his changeup and curveball are pretty decisive.
Another option is Matt Ginter, who is also pitching down in Pawtucket. Ginter is 2-2 with a 2.61 ERA, and has also struck out 22 while only walking 3. Ginter has the professional experience, as he's spent time with the White Sox, Mets and Tigers, but hasn't fared well (5.46 career ERA).
My choice: DiNardo until he really blows up a game. Then I'd give the nod to Alvarez, because it'd be really interesting to see how he performs with more experience under his belt. He is still only 23 years old, so there is definitely time for him to become an everyday major leaguer.