Tazawa Slated for Tuesday Start

Evan BrunellFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2009

NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Junichi Tazawa #63 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the New York Yankees in the 14th inning of the game on August 7, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Evan: Please welcome Mike Silver to the Fire Brand writing crew! Tim Daloisio is going to be stepping down from writing articles for Fire Brand. He will still be contributing one podcast a week plus the weekly poll -- and will add in another podcast every week.

Boston's management has decided it's time for Junichi Tazawa to throw his hat into the ring as savior of the Red Sox starting rotation.

While no one wants to go into preseason depth, AGAIN, this is just another in a set of signs that the team is running short on bullets. Let's recap: Beckett and Lester are incredible. Wakefield and Daisuke are on the DL. Penny has doubters. Smoltz was designated for assignment. Buchholz is inconsistent. Masterson was recently dealt.

That leaves Bowden, last of the preseason Big Nine, and Tazawa, the (very) occasionally mentioned tenth option. In April, a Tazawa appearance looked like either a pipedream or apocalyptic nightmare, depending on which side of the Mass-NY border you called your home.

I'm cautiously optimistic. He has thus far avoided the command problems that have taxed Japanese imports, sporting a 2.39 BB/9 in double-A paired with an 8.08 K/9 and 2.57 ERA (3.35 FIP ERA). However, he has only thrown 110 innings this side of the Pacific.

Still, he possesses excellent talent, a good fastball and splitter, and now, the opportunity to show it off.

If the Sox can get a reliable number five starter out of Tazawa, chalk it up as a victory. They don't need an ace, they need an innings eater. If he's anything more, its just icing on the cake.