As of this very moment, the Red Sox are in the playoffs. I don't think I'm getting too far ahead of myself by expecting that come October, we will be watching Red Sox Baseball. So, hypothetically, if the Red Sox make the postseason, what would the rotation look like?
There are a lot of factors that make this a more difficult discussion than you might think. Buchholz is pitching better. Rodriguez and Wright are dealing with injury troubles. We're still not exactly sure what Pomeranz is as a pitcher.
With Price and Porcello as locks for the rotation, you need to fill 2 spots with 4 guys. Here's what we think:
Rick Porcello, David Price, Drew Pomeranz, Steven Wright
As I said before, the first two are obvious locks for the rotation so no need for explanation. Since arriving in Boston, Pomeranz hasn't proven that he's a great pitcher, but he also hasn't proven that he's terrible. He's given us a few decent outings, and his job would be to do just that. I think he's capable of doing enough to give this team a chance to win. I chose Wright to fill the fourth spot because he simply earned it over the other 2 guys. Wright has given you countless brilliant performances, at a consistent rate all year long. Rodriguez has only pitched in 68 innings this year, and Clay Buchholz is Clay Buchholz. Rodriguez and Buchholz coming out of the bullpen would greatly improve the late innings for this team, and hopefully avoid the likes of Junichi Tazawa.
Rick Porcello, David Price, Drew Pomeranz, Clay Buchholz
There are a lot of factors that contribute to my decision to put Clay Buchholz in the rotation. And it's still something that can be changed in the coming weeks. In Clay's first start since returning from the bullpen, he went 3 no-hit innings before tiring in the fourth and fifth. But in his second start, Clay went 6 innings of 1-run ball. Clay is proving that his adjustments are paying off big time. That being said, it's still Clay Buchholz, and we don't know if he can keep this up. But come October, I have more confidence in him than I do in a guy like Steven Wright for one reason; the knuckleball. The knuckler is a pitch you've got to pray is on, and when it isn't, it's a mess. Wright is a guy you can go to in games you are up or down a few runs. As for E-Rod going to the pen, I picture Felix Doubront and the role he played in 2013. Rodriguez, in a World Series scenario, can give multiple innings if your pitcher gets lifted early, and be effective in that role.
David Price, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez
Look, I get it. There are a lot of question marks with this rotation, but there is potential for it to be fantastic and capable of making a deep playoff run. David Price and Rick Porcello, like many have said, are no-brainers. You can put Porcello ahead of Price, but I am giving the ball to my $31 million man in Game One of a playoff series. As for Steven Wright, I get the hesitancy in putting him in the four-man rotation. If the weather is bad or the knuckleball simply isn't knuckling one night, look out. However, Wright has proven, for the better part of this season, that he has what it takes in order to help this team win the World Series. Finally, Eduardo Rodriguez has to be in the rotation if he is 100% healthy. In my opinion, E-Rod is a HUGE wild card for this Red Sox team. Sure, the 23-year-old has been shaky at times, but he has also shown that he can be extremely dominant and a more-than-capable #2 or #3 starter in a World Series winning-caliber rotation.
While the Red Sox do have Drew Pomeranz, for the better part of his career, he has shown that he is quite effective at coming out of the bullpen, especially against left handed hitters. Pomeranz has already reached his career-high for innings, so the Red Sox will need to tread lightly with not only the aforementioned Eduardo Rodriguez, but also the lanky lefty.