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The adventure that is Red Sox pitching

Aug 31, 2009, 3:21 AM EDT

byrd_paul_090830.jpgAs the Boston Red Sox continue to slog their way toward a potential playoff berth, there are three constant worries: Pitching, pitching and pitching.

The rotation has been an adventure all season, from the failed experiments of John Smoltz and Brad Penny, the erratic behavior and performances of Daisuke Matsuzaka, and the quiet strength of Josh Beckett.

Sunday was a mixed bag, including good, bad and ugly. It all makes you wonder what Boston’s rotation will look like come playoff time, provided they manage to hold off the Texas Rangers in the AL wild card race.

First the good:

Paul Byrd (pictured), a late-season pickup for Boston for the second straight season, dazzled in his first major league start since last September, not only baffling the Toronto Blue Jays, but outdueling Roy Halladay in the process, leading the Red Sox to a 7-0 victory.

Even better, Byrd claims to be a man of many talents:

“I’m just so excited to be back. I want a World Series ring,” he said. “Hopefully I can help this team get there. I’ll clean toilets if I have to, and I told them that.”

The bad:

Tim Wakefield, who had just returned last week after 5 ½ weeks on the disabled list, will have to have a cortisone shot on Monday after his 43-year-old back acted up once again.

Wakefield was an All-Star after anchoring the Red Sox’s rotation in the first half. But now it appears that age is finally catching up to the veteran knuckleballer.

“We’ll go from there and see if (the shot) takes and, if so, I’ll be pitching in a week or so,” Wakefield said Sunday morning before a game against Toronto.

The ugly:

Dice-K, out since June with a right shoulder strain, was horrendous in a minor league start on Sunday, allowing five runs in the first inning of a 5-3 loss. He pitched a perfect second inning, but his insane pitch count (49 in the first inning), meant his outing was cut short.

But hey, at least Clay Buchholz seems to be coming around. Or at least gaining confidence.

******

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  1. theresa - Aug 31, 2009 at 10:22 AM

    Hmm, who is the cause of the bad pitching decisions? Why I believe it is Theo Epstein. Next time the Red Sox want to put someone up on the cutting block, they should consider Theo. His decisions are questionable and have not improved over time.

  2. Pedroia - Aug 31, 2009 at 10:26 AM

    i think dice k has been working at Friendly’s….check out this picture.

  3. Pedroia - Aug 31, 2009 at 10:28 AM

    Sorry the picture is here http://bit.ly/dicek
    the resemblance is uncanny.

  4. Mark - Aug 31, 2009 at 10:48 AM

    Dice-K stinks out loud. But Okajima does, too. he almost blew a win on Saturday. Coming in from the bullpen and walking guys should be the eleventh commandment. “Thou shalt not walk hitters with a lead in the late innings”.

  5. Paul - Aug 31, 2009 at 11:44 AM

    Are you on drugs? While I didnt like Nomar or Damon going for sure, Epsteins decisions led me to getting to watch us win a world series after a lifetime that only a Cubs fan could understand. While I dont agree with all of the indivudual decisions no one can argue with his record over all.

  6. John - Aug 31, 2009 at 12:14 PM

    haha that dude does look like Dice-K! Hope he doesn’t hurt his arm scooping that ice cream.
    Epstein deserves a lot of the credit for bringing in Schilling and Papi – and Cabrera over Nomar – but he’s made a lot of bad decisions lately – as many bad as good. Having a $150 million plus budget helps had the horrendous choices. The contracts of Renteria, Lugo, and Drew would have destroyed smaller market teams.

  7. nic - Aug 31, 2009 at 3:41 PM

    how about trading 2 minor leaguers adam laroche and a million dollars for casey kotchman can anyone explain that one

  8. EDWIN - Aug 31, 2009 at 11:01 PM

    i’VE BEEN A REDSOX FAN SINCE “75”.what the (%$#*)was Theo thinkking when he got smoltz & penny, those 2 bums are worth 2 pennies.please no more japanese pitchers they suck big times.Dice k robbed the organization for millions. He suck, what he needs to do is get operated on his both eyes and get them to open wider. he cannot see the strike zone sorry (^&%$*&^%).

  9. Paul - Sep 1, 2009 at 7:05 AM

    Theresa.. you are dilusional. Who do you think broguht Josh Beckett in along with the “throw in” Mike Lowell. Who got rid “Manny being Ahole” and brought in Jason “give 110%” Bay Victor Martinez? Questionable? Come on.. The Red Sox have the cash to take low risk chances on the pitchers that didn’t work out. The only reason John Smoltz didnt work out was because he didn’t have enough exposure to American League hitters. Look at what he is doing in St. Louis. Brad Penny will do the same in San Fran. Give credit when credit is due.

  10. John McDonald - Sep 2, 2009 at 10:12 AM

    Trading Manny was a mistake. Sure , the guy is a nut job, but the numbers don’t lie and it had a bad effect on the team’s hispanic chemistry. They did not give Smoltz a long enough chance to adjust. Jason Bay was a home run. Lowell needs time off, you’ve got enough guys to rest him. He should not be playing everyday, he’s old, but he is not done. Dice K was a ridiculous waste of money, trick the Yankees into wanting him.

  11. DA - Sep 2, 2009 at 10:40 AM

    actually, it wasnt theo that made the deal for beckett and lowell, he was not the gm at the time, preferring to run around in gorilla suits and play with pearl jam….you can thank Ben Cherington for that one.

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