Thursday, October 9, 2008

ALCS Rotation

The Sox have set their rotation for the ALCS, which starts tomorrow evening. They will begin with Daisuke Matsuzaka followed by Josh Beckett and Jon Lester. Presumably Francona made this decision because he wants Beckett to start a potential game seven. That's not a bad idea, I suppose, given his well known playoff track record. But in my opinion, you have to throw history out the window. Lester has been the ace this season. I think you have to set him up to go in game seven if necessary.

All three starters have good stats against the Rays. They have a combined 6-1 record and each has an ERA of 3.00 or less. Lester is 3-0 with a minuscule 0.90 ERA, another reason perhaps you would want him to start game seven. I know he's young, but he was money in the playoffs last season and pitched brilliantly in the World Series clincher.

Tim Wakefield will pitch game four. His stats against Tampa are much less impressive than the other pitchers I've mentioned; 0-2, 5.87 ERA. Wakefield has always been a streaky pitcher. He can look like a Hall of Famer then ready for retirement in back-to-back starts. Francona should have a short leash on him and have Paul Byrd ready to go if Wakefield's knuckle ball ain't dancing.

1 comment:

Dennis said...

I disagree with you a bit. Everybody is available for game 7, so it doesn't matter too much, but I think you want the more experienced guy in there. As Beckett showed last week, even if he doesn't have his best stuff, he can still grind through 5 or 6 innings and keep the Red Sox in the game. Francona doesn't necessarily know if he can get that from Lester.

Actually now that I think about it, aren't there travel days in there? Beckett will be starting game 6, and Lester game 7.