Best in Majors
Sox starting rotation has a chance to be really good
Well, it's official. The Red Sox have the best starting rotation for 2007. Well, when I say official, I mean according to Tim Kurkjian of ESPN The Magazine.
As Timmy succinctly puts it;
''if everything falls right, the Red Sox could have the best rotation in baseball with Daisuke Matsuzaka, Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Jonathan Papelbon, Jon Lester and Tim Wakefield. And there's a chance that Roger Clemens could pitch for the Red Sox this summer.''
It is some group of collected tallent, that's for sure. Leading the line of intrigue is Daisuke Matsuzaka. Perhaps the most interesting judge of the potential talent of Matsuzaka I have read so far comes in this piece, in the form of Bobby Valentine, who actually managed Matsuzaka while he managed in Japan.
He ventures; ''If the catcher and pitching coach make him comfortable with pitch and location, he'll be real good.''
Well that has to be good news for the Sox, as Jason Varitek will go out of his way to make his new team mate feel at home. Matsuzaka is pitching to one of if not the best receivers in the game.
One thing I am surprised not many people mention is that Curt Schilling is now two full years removed from ankle surgery. He had started to look allot fitter in 2006 and one could assume he will be even sharper in 2007. Kurkjian points out that the big Schill knows he needs about 15-20 more career wins to lock up a place in the Hall of Fame, and I agree that this will be a driving force for a real student of the game and its history.
People are so hung up on Josh Beckett's 5.01 era from last year. However, scrape say just over a half a run off that and suddenly we're talking 4.40 or so to go with those 16 wins he managed. Considering it was his first year in the AL I believe Beckett had to make some adjustments and he will come out firing in 2007. The irony is, if he wins 18-21 games suddenly we'll be talking Cy Young material, even though that would only be 2-5 more wins than he had in 2006.
As for the young guns, Jon Papelbon is set to shine as a starter with that extra few days rest between throwing, while Jon Lester could be the real story of the summer. He appears to be in great shape and really ready to go. He is in good hands, Tito and the rest of the Sox staff are determined to work him back in a way that he will never over extend himself. Lester is something most teams would pay top dollar for, a strong lefty with a killer curve and a Major League fastball. Plus, at the end of the day, the kids obviously a hard worker in the dirt dog model.
Meanwhile, old man Tim Wakefield just keeps piling up the wins. As a knuckleball pitcher Wakefields 40 years in age means relatively nothing. If he stays in shape there is no reason he can not pitch until his mid to late forties. The way he eats up innings with a relatively low era and still churns out wins is a real rock of solidity to the Red Sox.
As spring training gets ever closer, the Red Sox rotation looks to be in great shape, and according to Tim Kurkjian, is the best in Major League baseball. Now that's something to get excited about.
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