Boston Red Sox: 6-Man Rotation Should Decide Post All-Star Break Starters

Benjamin KleinContributor IIIJune 27, 2012

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 22:  Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning of the interleague game at Fenway Park on June 22, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Winslow Townson/Getty Images

With just 11 games remaining for the Boston Red Sox before the All-Star break, a six-man rotation is the perfect idea to determine who stays and who goes for the rest of the season.

Boston has caught fire over the last two weeks and is finally alive from the dead, sitting just 1.5 games behind in the wild card standings. The next 11 games will decide plenty for the rest of the season.

The Red Sox will play four games against the last place Seattle Mariners, three games against the struggling Oakland Athletics and then four games in three days against the AL-leading New York Yankees. The result could determine whether the Red Sox are buyers or sellers at the July 1 trade deadline, the future lineup and most importantly, who is in the starting rotation.

Manager Bobby Valentine has decided to go with a six-man rotation until the All-Star break, according to Kirk Minihane of WEEI.

I think we can do that for this next week, yes, just keep everybody in the rotation, give the guys who have been there from the start of the season just a little break before their last start before the All-Star break and keep everyone on the roster.

This most likely means that Franklin Morales, Aaron Cook, Josh Beckett, Felix Doubront and Daisuke Matsuzaka will each get two more starts and Jon Lester will only have one more.

The six-man rotation is a great idea for this short period of time, but it should not continue once probable All-Star David Ortiz returns from Kansas City. Whoever doesn’t shine in their allotted start(s) should not be the in rotation going forward—but there are some exceptions.

Jon Lester has been inconsistent—in my eyes—this season, but he is a lock to finish the season in the starting rotation. There’s no way that his remaining start could be that bad that Valentine would even ponder moving him out.

Josh Beckett will most likely stay in the rotation if he can stay healthy—although I wouldn’t be shocked if they traded him near the July 1 deadline.

Felix Doubront has proven himself to be a solid left-handed pitcher that Boston could probably build around for the future.

This leaves Cook, Morales and Matsuzaka duking it out for two spots—until Clay Buchholz returns and another one will likely be booted.

Aaron Cook hasn’t been that sharp in his two starts this season, and while his upcoming start against the Mariners is important, his following start against the Yankees will be even bigger. That will be a true test to see if Cook deserves to stay in the rotation or not.

Morales has been extremely impressive in his two starts since coming out of the bullpen. Striking out 17 batters in 11 innings is no simple feat, but he’s been making it look easy. He has the best shot at staying in the rotation since he has the luxury of not facing the Yankees.

Matsuzaka is still getting used to facing big league bats, but he could come back strong with more innings. He pitched well in his most recent start against the Toronto Blue Jays and needs to have big starts against Oakland and then New York.

Valentine will have the opportunity to judge each of these pitchers and then make an informed decision on who his five starters should be until Buchholz returns.

Boston needs to play well in these next 11 games in order to stay in the playoff hunt. Each of these pitchers could be on the mound pitching for their jobs. The decision for a six-man rotation “tryout” is the perfect way to get the best out of them.