The early reports are encouraging on Josh Beckett’s hyperextended left knee, but what if Boston is forced to place him on the disabled list alongside Jon Lester (lat), Clay Buchholz (back) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (elbow)?
Such a move could leave the Red Sox with a rotation of John Lackey, Tim Wakefield, Andrew Miller, Kyle Weiland and Kevin Millwood, if only for a week or two.
And what a far cry that would be from a postseason-worthy rotation.
Lackey has a jumbo-jet-like ERA of 7.47. The 44-year-old Wakefield is at 4.74. Miller has been pretty impressive since his callup, going 3-0 with a 3.57 ERA. However, he went 1-5 with an 8.54 ERA for Florida last year.
Weiland will be making his major league debut in Lester’s place Sunday.
Millwood just gave up four runs in five innings for Triple-A Pawtucket tonight. He had a nice run last month in which he allowed a total of five runs in four starts, but he’s now struggled in two of three outings. Overall, he has a 4.50 ERA in eight starts for Pawtucket.
An alternative to calling on Millwood would be to move Alfredo Aceves from the bullpen to the rotation. Another would be to bring up left-hander Felix Doubront. Doubront pitched seven scoreless innings for Pawtucket two days ago and is 1-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 12 starts this season.
Hopefully, it won’t come to any of that. Beckett might be ready to start in the first series back after the All-Star break. The hope is that Lester will make it back before the end of the month and that Buchholz could return in early August. So, the Red Sox still have plenty of time to get their rotation ready for October. The key will be making it through the next few weeks without doing too much damage to their chances of getting there.
The Red Sox are off and running in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series against the Dodgers. Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez each hit RBI singles off of Clayton Kershaw to give the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead.
Benintendi’s hit to right field ended with a replay review. Rather than throw to the cutoff man, right fielder Yasiel Puig fired home to try nabbing Mookie Betts, but his throw was poor. Catcher Austin Barnes caught the ball a few feet in front of and to the right of home plate, then whipped the ball to second base in an attempt to get Benintendi. Benintendi clearly beat the throw, but shortstop Manny Machado kept the tag applied. After Benintendi was ruled safe, the Dodgers challenged, arguing that Benintendi’s hand may have come off the second base bag for a microsecond while Machado’s glove was on him. The ruling on the field was upheld and the Red Sox continued to rally.
Replay review over base-keeping is not in the spirit of the rule and shouldn’t be permitted. Hopefully Major League Baseball considers changing the rule in the offseason. Besides the oftentimes uncontrollable minute infractions, these kinds of replay reviews slow the game down more than other types of reviews because they tend not to be as obvious as other situations.
Baseball has become so technical and rigid that it seems foolish to leave gray area in this regard. A runner is either off the base or he isn’t. However, the gradual result of enforcing these “runner’s hand came off the base for a fraction of a second” situations is runners running less aggressively and sliding less often so there’s no potential of them losing control of their body around the base. Base running, particularly the aggressive, sliding variety, is quietly one of the most fun aspects of the game. Policing the game to this degree, then, serves to make the game less fun and exciting.
Where does one draw the line then? To quote Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, describing obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio, “I know it when I see it.” This is one area where I am comfortable giving the umpires freedom to enforce the rule at their discretion and making these situations impermissible for replay review.