Saturday, October 18, 2008

Jon Lester or Josh Beckett?

This is not a new topic here. Prior to the series, I wrote a discourse about how I would approach the Red Sox pitching rotation for the ALCS. My choice for the first four games matched Terry Francona's. For the final 3 games, I indicated that I would use the results, the series standing, and pitching performances of the first 4 games to guide the choices for the last three games.

I intended to use Josh Beckett in game 5, if he was sharp in game 2 and not in need of extra rest, otherwise I would go with Dice-K. Tito went with Dice-K.

For game 6, I wrote that I would use "Lester (if this is a Sox elimination game) / Dice-K (if this is a Sox clinching game)". Guess what? It is an elimination game. I stick by that. But, what I am missing is the inside, up close contact with the guys that Tito has. My thought is that pitching Lester today puts him on normal rest. The last game he pitched with extra rest, he was less sharp and lost (game 3). Beckett, on the other hand, is clearly not himself, and likely trying to fully heal that oblique pull (or the elbow is nagging him again). Either way, give him the extra day of rest to be ready for a game 7 showdown.

In the end, I have to say that I trust Francona. He wants to win more than you or I. If putting Beckett out there today and not tomorrow would hinder their chances, I don't believe he would do it. I have to conclude that the coaching staff feels Beckett is ready to go, and able to perform well. If they manage to win, we all will appreciate having Lester in game 7!

But, my only concern is that, IF Beckett is not truly ready, then he will have to come out early, and then we throw everybody and anybody out there. That's fine, but I'd rather do that in a final game 7, not having to worry about staffing one more game the very next day!

So, Tito, I'm trusting you here. Let's get this done.


Peter N said...

Now we need an effective and normal (for him this year) start from JL and it's onward and upward!
Have fun tonight, Rooster. I'll be watching and DVRing at the same time.

Rooster said...

I'm worried about Papelbon - he was not throwing as hard as usual. But, hopefully we'll win by a large margin tonight and won't need him.

I can't wait for this one!