(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Brad Penny has not gone seven innings in any of his 20 starts this season, which is the most in the Majors. It's also the longest single-season streak by a Red Sox pitcher since 1954.
It's further evidence of what is a disturbing and long term trend; Penny has not finished the seveth inning since May 24, 2008.
Daisuke Matsuzaka won't pitch again until at least September—as if that even matters. Matsuzaka's season has been an unmitigated disaster.
Tim Wakefield is on the DL due to back spasms. It's worth noting that in each of the last two years, Wakefield's season was cut short due to shoulder trouble.
John Smoltz—he of the Hall of Fame credentials—is presently 1-4 with a 7.04 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. In 30.2 innings, he's allowed a whopping 49 base runners.
All of this makes it abundantly clear that the Red Sox need pitching help.
And when you consider that the Red Sox are 11-12 in July, 4-8 since the All Star break, and suddenly 3.5 games out of first place, the stage is set for a significant trade deadline deal.
The Red Sox need both a power hitter and a starting pitcher. Who could have imagined the latter just a month ago?
They have ample minor league talent to get one or both via trade, without completely jeopardizing their future.
Simply put, it's time to get 'er done.