Beckett and Wakefield and off to the pen is the battle cry at Fenway as the Red Sox head into the All-Star break.
With Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz on the disabled list and John Lackey struggling with an ERA of 7.47, manager Terry Francona is piecing together a starting rotation to get to the break so the Sox can reassess.
Francona has not named a starter for Sunday’s game and is in no hurry to do so.
“We’ll get there,” he said Thursday. “There’s no reason for us to do something premature. We’ll see how we get through the week. We certainly have some ideas, some things to throw around, but we’ll have an announcement when we think it’s appropriate.”
That is really all he can do. On any given night, those who might start may be needed in the bullpen. A day-to-day starting rotation is not what any team has in mind, but it happens.
Fortunately, the Sox offense is producing enough runs to cover the problem, at least for now.
Also fortunate, the Sox are playing at Fenway where the bats had produced a .330 average and some seven runs per game over the last 13 games heading into Friday night.
Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez have the top two averages in the AL in their home yard and David Ortiz is sixth in the league in that department. It’s time for the offense to pick up the pitching and it is doing just that.
Buchholz has a bad back, but the good news this week was the injury is not structural and he will try to work the problem out with anti-inflammatory shots and a lot of stretching.
Still, the concern is there regarding the rotation for the second half.
Decisions are being made as to what to do if he can’t come back as quickly as hoped or if someone else goes down.
That makes the Sox a buyer as the end of July trading deadline approaches. After that, players must pass through waivers to be traded, making deals more difficult.
There are plenty of teams out of contention already, so there will be sellers and the Sox will scour the rosters to see if there is starting pitching help somewhere.
This is the season of the hired gun. Those are the players who are acquired for the rest of the season without promises of anything beyond that.
Some teams want to dump salaries, making such players available for a modest rest of the season salary.
The other hope is that Lackey will come around for the second half. That would be an enormous help for Boston.
Andrew Miller has been able to win three of the four starts he has been asked to make. He is not overpowering, but if he can continue to provide five or six innings of keeping the Sox in games, the offense may be able to do the rest, at least for a while.
The Sox are dealing with the oldest adage in baseball: You can never have enough pitching. The Sox hope they have enough for the second-half battle with New York and Tampa for both the division title and probably the wild card spot that again looks like it will go to the AL East.