Monday, July 13, 2009

Red Sox starters all to get a week off

Clay Buchholz will make a spot start for the Red Sox on Friday in Toronto, his first major-league start of the season. Some will argue -- and they might be right -- that the Red Sox are showcasing Buchholz for potential trade partners, including the Blue Jays.

But it does keep the team's rotation in order as well. Here's how everything is set to line up coming out of the All-Star break:

Tuesday: Beckett/Wakefield
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Off
Friday: Buchholz (regular rest)
Saturday: Penny (eight days' rest)
Sunday: Lester (eight days' rest)
Monday: Smoltz (eight days' rest)
Tuesday: Beckett (six days' rest)
Wednesday: Wakefield (seven days' rest)

Beckett, if he appears in the All-Star Game is the only one who doesn't get something of a break in this whole arrangement. He'll pitch an inning in St. Louis on one day's rest -- not a huge deal considering he normally throws his bullpen session on one day's rest -- and then only get a couple of days more than normal before he pitches again.

The Red Sox could have given each guy seven days' rest and had either Beckett or Wakefield pitch on five days' rest on Tuesday in Texas.

The temporary insertion of Buchholz into the rotation, though, ensures that everyone will come out of the break pitching on extra rest. That might mean a sharp week of starting pitching. Consider the Red Sox starting pitchers' career numbers when pitching on six or more days' of rest:

Beckett: 2.75 ERA in 31 starts
Smoltz: 2.96 ERA in 48 starts
Penny: 3.17 ERA in 34 starts
Wakefield: 4.08 ERA in 51 starts
Lester: 4.55 ERA in 11 starts

Lester is the only one with subpar numbers after an extended break -- but he also threw 7 1/3 shutout innings at Seattle on 12 days' rest following last season's All-Star break. If you're worried about Lester at this point in the season, you're in a lonely club.

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