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Fie to you WBC!!!

Ok, I spoke too soon. We are short a pitcher (and maybe two, if Becket's suspension is upheld). What to do now?

The Sox lost Dice-K to WBC desease for a few weeks at least. He'll probably miss two or three starts. Since he's generally healthy and pitched so well in his second, Faustian, MVP-winning World Baseball "Classic", I feel good about him coming back strong. But this is when that 9 man starting staff comes into play.

I propose that the Sox hand over the Dice-K rotation slot to the 9th man on that list: Michael Bowden.

This comes from a process of elimination. It goes this way. First choice: John Smoltz is unavailable because 50 year old pitchers don't pitch until June. Second choice: Clay Buchholz has a slight hamstring injury. Why risk it for 2 emergency starts?

This brings us to Justin Masterson, the consensus shoo-in to fill the Dice Man's spot. The logic goes this way: Masterson pitched wonderfully for 4 innings when Matsuzaka left his last start, he's already on the roster, and we trust him as a Nation.

The problem is that this move leaves you with two question marks on your 12 man staff. Masterson would not be available late in games, leaving that job to Saito and Ramirez (the new, sane one) to fill the righty set up role. That's something we all hope - and expect? - them to do by the end of the summer, but right now I'm just not confident in them. And it's my confidence that matters here, clearly.

Masterson is also a question mark in the rotation. I think he can be a good starter, but when he starts he can't throw as hard and the fact that he really only has two pitches is exposed.

The best thing is to leave Masterson where he is in the pen - though perhaps doing one spot start if Beckett is suspended - and calling up Bowden to replace Hunter Jones on the roster once the starter is needed (Monday's 11am Patriot's Day game against B-more).

Bowden gives us as good a chance to win as Masterson would starting. Meanwhile, Masterson being available in the pen gives us a better chance to win every game than does Masterson starting and Big Hunter (or Daniel Bard) in the pen.


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