Boston Red Sox: Lack of Back End Pitching Is Hurting the Team
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There's an old saying in sports: offense wins games, defense wins championships.
In baseball, pitching wins titles, and for the Boston Red Sox, their pitching has come under the microscope in recent weeks due to a lack of depth and injuries.
Jon Lester may be Boston's ace pitcher, and in 16 starts on the season, leads the team in starts, wins and strikeouts.
Josh Beckett may be the biggest surprise on the season after battling a serious of injuries that caused him to spend several stints on the disabled list last year.
Beckett leads the entire league with a 1.86 ERA but has missed his last two starts due to a stomach virus. Beckett is expected to return to the rotation against the team many picked to meet Boston in the World Series, the Philadelphia Phillies.
Clay Buchholz, who was rumored to be on the trading list the last couple of years, turned in a Cy Young caliber season last year (17-7 with a 2.33 ERA) and has won his last five starts this year. After going five innings and allowing two hits and a run in a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, Buchholz ended up on the 15-day DL due to stiffness in his back.
When healthy, the top three of the Boston Red Sox rotation might be one of the best in baseball, the back end of the rotation however, may be their Achilles heel.
Daisuke Matuszaka was lost for the season due to right elbow surgery, and John Lackey, who signed a five-year deal worth $82 million before the start of the 2010 season, has been a complete disappointment so far.
In 44 career games with the Red Sox, Lackey is 19-17 with a 5.88 ERA. In 11 starts so far this year, including a stint on the DL, Lackey has allowed at least three or more earned runs in eight games, including one game of eight runs and two of nine.
Due to injuries, the Red Sox have reverted to 44-year old relief pitcher Tim Wakefield to cover the immediate need at starting pitcher and have also gone with Alfredo Aceves and Andrew Miller to band-aid the back end of the rotation.
Since Beckett and Buchholz have gone down with sickness and injuries, the Red Sox are just 3-5 and have lost their first place lead over the Yankees.
With the trade deadline coming up quickly and down a starting pitcher in Dice-K, Boston needs to add depth to the back end of their rotation.
Currently, only two of the five Opening Day starters are on the Red Sox rotation.
With all their offense and a rebound year for Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox pitching is their biggest need, and at some point this year, will have to be addressed.
For Red Sox fans, hopefully sooner rather than later.
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