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Chicago White Sox:
1. Mark Buehrle
2. Gavin Floyd
3. John Danks
4. Jake Peavy
5. Edwin Jackson
Boston Red Sox:
1. Jon Lester
2. John Lackey
3. Clay Buchholz
4. Josh Beckett
5. Daisuke Matsuzaka
On paper, it's probably easy to say that the Red Sox have a better rotation than the White Sox. I'll tell you up front, I am biased to the White Sox. But let's do some comparing between these staffs, and you'll see who ends up as the better rotation.
1. Who is the only pitcher in the last 10 years to have 10 wins, 30 starts and 200+ innings in all of those years? Mark Buehrle. You probably never would have guessed that Buehrle would have been the guy to accomplish this. But even more than Sabathia, Halladay, Oswalt and Johan Santana, Buehrle has proven that he is the most consistent pitcher of the last decade.
2. The hope for the Red Sox this year is a breakout from Josh Beckett. Beckett hasn't had a good year since 2007, when he went 20-7 and had a 3.27 ERA. Since then, his record, while great at 35-22, has seen a decline in strikeouts and an increase to a cumulative 4.39 ERA.
3. Do you want to know Gavin Floyd's statistics from June 8, 2010 to August 7, 2010? Floyd had 12 starts and ended with a 6-2 record.
In 83.1 innings, he had 68 strikeouts and 19 walks. In those 83.1 innings he gave up 11 runs for an unbelievable 1.19 ERA. At that same point, his batting average against was a disgusting .203. I'd say this guy has some unbelievable potential.
4. Perhaps the biggest disappointment in the entire league last year was John Lackey. Once I found out that Lackey was teaming up with Lester, Beckett and Buchholz, I thought the season was over before it started.
Lackey came into the 2010 season with a 69-38 record and a 3.49 ERA from 2005-2009. When 2010 came, he flopped as nobody had expected, and ended the season with only 14 wins and 4.40 ERA.
5. The big story for the White Sox is obviously the health of reigning Cy Young winner Jake Peavy. I remember seeing his season end against the Angels last year, and ever since then, the season for the South Side had fallen apart. In Peavy's last six starts last year, he had only 37.2 innings, but had 31 Ks along with a 1.67 ERA. Not to mention, hitters had just a .194 batting average against him. I think it's pretty clear that this pitcher is not one to be messed with, even though he hasn't been in top form since 2007.
I firmly believe that the White Sox have the better rotation coming into 2011. The Red Sox have more injury-prone starters, and don't have a lot of backup support when these guys go down. With that said No. 2 for the American League goes to the Boston Red Sox and No. 1 goes to the Chicago White Sox.