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John Lackey is one of several starting pitchers the Red Sox hope returns to his old form.
1. LHP Jon Lester
2. RHP Clay Buchholz
3. RHP Ryan Dempster
4. RHP John Lackey
5. LHP Felix Doubront
The Red Sox starting pitching statistically ranked among the league’s worst in 2012.
Boston’s starters posted a 48-72 record with a 5.19 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and .272 BAA. They also allowed 535 earned runs and 135 home runs last season.
On the bright side for the recently struggling team, Aaron Cook, Daniel Bard and Daisuke Matsuzaka won’t be regularly making starts for Boston again in 2013.
The Red Sox starting rotation is full of potential and former stars, and therefore it isn’t ranked last in the AL East. In fact, the rotation has the potential and talent to be the best in the division.
Jon Lester posted a 9-14 record, 4.82 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and .273 BAA with 166 strikeouts in 2012. But from 2008 to 2011, the southpaw posted a 65-32 record with a 3.33 EA and 1.24 WHIP, while averaging 196 strikeouts per season.
Clay Buchholz also disappointed in 2012, posting an 11-8 record with a 4.56 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and .263 BAA. This is the same pitcher who posted a 17-7 record, 2.33 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 2010 at just 26 years old.
The two former aces need to bounce back and pitch like No. 1 and No. 2 aces again in order for the Red Sox to have a chance to reclaim the throne or even make the playoffs.
But, the Red Sox also have major questions with their next three starting pitchers.
Newly signed Ryan Dempster had a 12-8 record, 3.38 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and .237 BAA in 2012. However, in his first career AL stint, the 35-year-old posted a 5.09 ERA and 1.43 WHIP with the Rangers last season.
The Red Sox will also get John Lackey back for the 2013 season, who missed all of 2012 with Tommy John surgery. The 34-year-old has not pitched since Sept. 25, 2011 and has struggled since coming to the Red Sox. The former Angel has a 26-23 record, 5.26 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in his first two seasons with Boston.
Felix Doubront also struggled last year in his first full season. The 25-year-old southpaw showed flashes of dominance, but he finished with an 11-10 record, 4.86 ERA and 1.45 WHIP.
The Red Sox should benefit from bringing back former pitching coach John Farrell, whom Lester and Buchholz thrived under.
However, the team’s starting pitchers struggled in 2012, and its rotation still has major question marks entering the 2013 season.
Boston’s rotation ranks in the bottom half of the division entering 2013, but it has the potential to be one of the best in the American League again if most of its starting pitchers bounce back.