The Sox have a few options for the rest of the year for their 5th starter. They have 3 off days remaining on the schedule and could probably skip the 5th guy if necessary at least 2 of those times. If the Sox can maintain or expand their division lead, they'll probably use the full 5 man rotation until the end and use the off days to give their guys an extra day off. They probably also hope to give that last start against Minnesota to a rookie and set up the rotation for the playoffs. Here are the options I see for the last 6 times around the rotation:
- Jon Lester - The Sox seem to want to go this way. I myself have not been impressed. His is a case of lefthander inflation: his stuff is good but deemed great because he's a southpaw. He has terrible control, pitches away from contact, has a good curve, working on his cutter and change, and a decent fastball. His fastball is the issue to me: he throws it around 92 and he leaves it up as if he's Justin Verlander. He's not. He might be a good pitcher in the near future but I think without great control, his guts and decent stuff only gets him so far.
- Julian Tavarez - he's been really tough lately. I'm sure we'll all hate him again at some point this season and he's on the playoff roster bubble, but in simple terms of who gives you the best chance to win, I think he's the man right now. On the other hand, I think he might be insane.
- Tim Wakefield - According to every TV commentator - especially the sage Tim McCarver - , the knuckleball is magic and takes no athletic skill at all. When Wakefield sweats, it's only because he's a bit under the weather. So, Wakefield should pitch twice every time around. Why not? What has he done for the Sox...
- Clay Buchholz - He is definitely our best pitching prospect. It's always a very good sign for immediate impact when a pitcher's best pitch is his change and his best quality is his control of multiple pitches. I think he's ready to win right now. However, he has pitched a about 140 innings already this year and the Sox are better off bringing him up, getting him used to the "faithful" and the Fens, and letting him get maybe 5-10 innings out of the bullpen. It'd help him next year and also not risk his arm.
- Marty Barrett - As I'm sure you all did, I just read an article from 3 years ago about Marty Barrett. I'm normal. I promise. Anyway, 3 years ago Marty, one of my favorite players growing up, was saying he'd love to get back involved in baseball after his last son graduated high school in... 2007. So, he's ready. I think he was thinking of the front office, but we need him in the starting rotation. It's going to be awesome.