Boston Red Sox 2011: Previews and Predictions for the Entire Starting Rotation

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Boston Red Sox 2011: Previews and Predictions for the Entire Starting Rotation
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Boston Red Sox baseball is underway, and with that comes questions and concerns over the starting rotation.

Last season, the starting rotation was the modern day version of Jekyll and Hyde.

Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz delighted, finishing the year fourth and sixth in AL Cy Young voting respectively, and combining for a 36-16 record.

On the other hand, Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka all underwhelmed. Dice-K and Beckett combined for just 46 starts and an ERA over 5.00, while Lackey finished the season with rather lackluster numbers: 14-11, 4.40 ERA, 1.42 WHIP.

It's no secret that the success of the Red Sox is tied to the performance of the starting rotation. The offense is one of the best in baseball and the Red Sox aren't going to struggle to score runs.

So it was a pleasant surprise when Lackey, Beckett and Matsuzaka showed up to spring training early and in much-improved shape.

But can the "middle-management" trio really bounce back, when injuries and inconsistency have plagued them in the past?

Moreover, can Clay Buchholz repeat his 2010 success? Will Jon Lester continue to improve on his perennial ace status?

These are all vital questions for the Sox, and I'll touch upon what I think the starters need to do to succeed, as well as offer completely unscientific predictions for the upcoming season. 

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