Tim Wakefield expects to start

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The Red Sox have John Lackey, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Clay Buchholz, but Tim Wakefield says one of them is going to have to take a back seat to him

“I’ve been right back on track with
my normal offseason routine and I don’t feel like there’s going to be
any setbacks, so I plan on being one of the five starters.”

I’m sure someone in the crowded Boston media landscape will try to turn this into a controversy of some kind (“Wakefield: TAKE A BACK SEAT, BECKETT!”) but such a thing would be silly. For one thing, Wakefield is a knuckleballer, and knuckleballers are totally awesome, so what should really happen is that Beckett, Lackey and Lester should be turned into mop-up men and Wakefield should get something like 54 starts. There. Controversy averted.

Only slightly more likely is that one of the six starters will get hurt or be ineffective at some point this year, rendering the notion that the Sox have a surplus of starters quaint.  Remember last year when the Red Sox allegedly had seven Major League-ready starters to open the season?  Somewhere along the line that turned into Paul Byrd, Junichi Tazawa and Michael Bowden being pressed into service, so I’m assuming that Wakefield will get plenty of starts in 2010 by simply hanging around.

Brandon Morrow shut down for the rest of the season

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Cubs closer Brandon Morrow has been out since the All-Star break with a bone bruise and biceps inflammation. In recent days there had been hope that he would be activated in the season’s final two weeks in order to be ready for the playoffs, but that’s not happening: Theo Epstein just said that Morrow is done for the season.

It’s not the first time good expectations for Morrow’s recovery were not met. When he was placed on the DL back in July manager Joe Maddon said he didn’t anticipate Morrow being on the DL for much more than the minimum 10 days. Two months later and here we are.

Morrow, 34, had an excellent season until the arm trouble started, saving 22 games with a 1.47 ERA and a 31/9 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings. Once he went out the closer’s duties fell to Pedro Strop. Now Strop too is out for at least the rest of the regular season and likely more due to a hamstring strain he suffered last week while running the bases.

Bullpens become a lot more important in the postseason. The Cubs’ bullpen is becoming thinner.