The Red Sox Pitching Staff: An Arsenal of Arms
The talking heads on every sports network in America, both local and national, said the Yankees' signings of AJ Burnett and CC Sabathia had brought their rotation even with that of the Red Sox. Some (mostly in the NY-NJ area) even said that they had surpassed the Sox with their pitching.
However, what these analysts failed to realize is that, unlike the Yankees, who need to make big free-agent splashes each year to improve, the Sox naturally improve every year.
The Red Sox have eight pitchers who could start tomorrow and win—Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield, Brad Penny, Justin Masterson, Clay Buccholz, and Michael Bowden. John Smoltz will also return in May.
But the best thing about these players is that each of them has a good chance to pitch better than they did last year.
Had injury problems last year, and looked to be back to his old self with a 3.79 ERA before getting lit up on Saturday.
If the guy pitched as well at the start of the inning as he does with the bases loaded, he would have won the Cy Young last year. The WBC threw him off the starting blocks slow, but he will be back.
The guy just oozes potential. After a slow start (11 ER in 11 innings), he has started to dominate again (two ER in 13 innings).
If Zach Greinke wasn't tearing up every batter he faced this month, Wakefield would be the pitcher of the month. He has allowed just 10 hits in his last 23 innings.
He started the All-Star game a few years back, so he has the stuff, he just needs to find it.
He can do anything the Sox need him to do. He can be an eighth inning reliever, he can be a right-handed specialist, and he can also be a dominant starter (two earned runs in 10-plus innings during his first two starts).
He has the potential to be an ace, as seen during his no-hitter two seasons ago. He looks to have his confidence back this year (2.45 ERA in his first three starts).
The next top Red Sox pitching prospect was given his taste of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry and liked it, throwing two perfect innings.
Good old John Smoltz will try to live up to Peter Gammons' prediction that he will be the best pitcher in baseball by September.
These pitchers are also helped by the best bullpen in baseball, with or without Masterson. Manny Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez have been absolutely unstoppable (neither has given up a run this season). Papelbon is one of the top three best closers in baseball any night of the year, regardless of whether or not he has his best stuff.
And if this group of pitchers is not enough for you, you should know that last year's first round pick, Casey Kelly, has not given up a run in his first three starts as a professional pitcher.
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