Some things we know. Some things we don’t. For example, we know that the earth is round. We don’t know why the Democrats seem intent on throwing away perhaps the most winnable election since Barry Goldwater was their chief opposition.
Similarly, we know that Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jon Lester are the Red Sox’s two opening starters. We don’t know much of anything about Josh Beckett’s status or who the fifth starter will be.
Not knowing doesn’t stop the political commentariat from speculating ad nauseum about the motivations behind the seemingly unending Democratic presidential race. And not knowing won’t stop us from speculating as to who will be starting when for the Red Sox in the next two weeks.
Here’s my stab, built off the Boston Globe’s guesses:
- March 21: at Hanshin Tigers (Exh.) — Clay Buchholz
- March 23: at Yomiuri Giants (Exh.) — Tim Wakefield
- March 25: vs. Athletics — Daisuke Matsuzaka
- March 26: vs. Athletics — Jon Lester
- March 28: at Dodgers (Exh.) — Clay Buchholz
- March 29: at Dodgers (Exh.) — Tim Wakefield
- March 30: at Dodgers (Exh.) — Julian Tavarez
- April 1: at Athletics — Daisuke Matsuzaka
- April 2: at Athletics — Jon Lester
- April 4: at Blue Jays — Clay Buchholz
- April 5: at Blue Jays — Tim Wakefield
- April 6: at Blue Jays — Julian Tavarez
- April 8: vs. Tigers (Home opener) — Josh Beckett
- April 9: vs. Tigers — Daisuke Matsuzaka
- April 10: vs. Tigers — Jon Lester
- April 11: vs. Yankees — Tim Wakefield
- April 12: vs. Yankees — Clay Buchholz
- April 13: vs. Yankees — Josh Beckett
The big question seems like the identity of the fifth starter. The Sox can get by with using just their top four arms up to March 30, and even then could use Matsuzaka but one assumes the Sox will stick to their two-man regular-season rotation for the A’s series.
The 30th is an exhibition; it could be a good time to use Bartolo Colon, but I’m not sure what the roster requirements are for those games. Likewise, it might not be good, if he can still only go three or four innings, to need to use the bullpen so heavily the game before Opening Day. So I went with Tavarez, who seems to have the incumbent’s edge in the fifth spot, even though Kyle Snyder has pitched pretty well this spring. I can’t say I have much confidence that either of them can go more than three innings, though.
On April 6, the Sox could again use Matsuzaka and skip the fifth starter, but that would mess up the rotation for the home-opening series. Presumably, you want Beckett, Matsuzaka and Lester going those first three games. I like the possibility of that April 11-13 series against the Yankees. Of course, if you started Daisuke April 6, he could go April 11, making the starters Matsuzaka-Buchholz-Beckett against the Yanks, with Wakfield and Lester moving up to start against Detroit. I think I would like that better.