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With 30 games remaining this season, the rotation could be what propels the team into the postseason for the first time since 2009.
“To me, that’s the difference with this team, our pitching,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “We’re sending somebody out there every day who is pretty darned good. That takes the pressure off everybody else.”
Red Sox starters have a 3.82 ERA, second in the American League to the Tigers. In Jon Lester (12-7, 3.97), Lackey (8-11, 3.17), Felix Doubront (9-6, 3.79), and Jake Peavy (10-5, 3.99), the Sox have four reliable starters who have pitched well in recent weeks.
Doubront starts Tuesday night as the Red Sox open a nine-game homestand against the third-place Orioles.
“To me, that’s our most important area of this team going forward,’’ manager John Farrell said. “That’s not to slight any other side of it. We know we need to score runs. But that starting rotation is key for us going forward.”
The one slumping starter, Ryan Dempster (6-9, 4.77), will next pitch Friday on 12 days of rest and expects to be sharper.
All-Star righthander Clay Buchholz, out since June 9 with a shoulder injury, started a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment Sunday and could be back in the majors inside of two weeks.
Globe: Rotation has been a strength for the Red Sox
It really is amazing how far this rotation has come along since 2011. As Abraham points out in his article, the Red Sox starters were 4-13 with a 7.08 ERA during the last month they collapsed in 2011. Besides a couple of additions to the rotation (Peavy, Dempster), the Red Sox core rotation has stayed in tact and clearly improved.
Sure, the bullpen could use some help. But keep in mind, they will essentially be adding to the bullpen come playoff time since they will have four starters tops. That would ultimately leave Ryan Dempster as the odd man out, but could provide value to the bullpen given his veteran status and experience working out of the bullpen.
The Sox rotation, which is ranked second in the American League (3.82 ERA) will carry this team into the playoffs. Adding Buccholz will hopefully be an instant upgrade and propel this team deep into October.
Rest of the links:
Globe: Healthy David Ross back with the Red Sox | Herald: Koji Uehara fits in as Red Sox closer with pizazz | Herald: Red Sox rotation spins the hits | Herald: Rookie reliever Brandon Workman worthy of trust | ProJo: As season hits stretch run, rotation rolling | WEEI.com: Xander Bogaerts' unusual path from Aruba to the big leagues | ESPNBoston.com: Peavy: Feeling better the last two starts |