RSL Poll: Who do you trust?

The Guru
Contributing Writer

If the Red Sox season ended today, the playoff starting pitching rotation would consist of Jon Lester, Jake Peavy, John Lackey, Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront.

Think those names strike fear in the hearts of the Detroit Tigers? Probably not.

With the health of Clay Buchholz still up in the air after two months of shoulder nursing, the Red Sox have decisions to make regarding their starting rotation. Especially if they make the playoffs.

Should the Sox win the AL East it will interesting to see who manager John Farrell will hand the ball to. If the Red Sox happen to end up the wild-card it will be even tougher to decide who to trust in a one game playoff.

Who would you give the ball to in that do-or-die situation? Let's run down the candidates in today's RSL Poll.

Jon Lester: Lester was supposed to be the Red Sox ace this season. Thus far he has been mediocre at best. Lester is 10-7 with a 4.31 ERA on the year. He's 0-3 in August with a 4.58 ERA. Lester's ERA, WHIP and batting average against are all above his career averages. With the uncertainty of Clay Buchholz's health, more responsibility will be resting on the shoulder of Jon Lester as the Sox push towards the playoffs. Lester's post season numbers are 2-3 with a 2.57 ERA.

Jake Peavy: Peavy was traded to the Red Sox on July 30 to help stabilize a struggling starting rotation at the time. Since the trade, Peavy has mostly proved his worth, going 1-2 with an ERA of 5.00. Those numbers are a bit misleading as Peavy gave up just two runs each in two of those starts. However, Peavy had a rough outing two weeks ago in Kansas City in which he only went five innings, giving up 10 hits and six runs. For the season, Peavy is 9-5 with a 4.41 ERA. In Peavy's post season career, he's 0-2 with an ERA of 12.10.

John Lackey: Lackey may actually be Boston's most consistent starter this season. After Saturday's 6.1 inning, one earned run performance against the Yankees, Lackey is 8-10 with a 3.22 ERA. Lackey's shortest outing since June occurred against the Astros in which Lackey went six innings and only gave up two runs. Don't let the wins and losses fool you, Lackey may be the Red Sox best starter this season. Lackey also has playoff experience. His record in the post season is 3-4 with an ERA of 3.12.

Ryan Dempster: Dempster's last outing was a step in the right direction as he tossed seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the Blue Jays. In 24 starts this season Dempster is 6-8 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP. Since the All-Star break Dempster has just one win and an ERA over five. In 15 starts at Fenway Park this year, Dempster's ERA is 4.57. It's quite possible, should Buchholz return, Dempster could find himself in the Boston bullpen. Dempster has just two playoff appearances and is 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA.

Felix Doubront: Doubront had been the Sox most consistent starter over the past three months, never allowing more than three earned runs in 16 starts. That came to an end Friday when the Yankees spanked him for seven runs in just four innings. Doubront left the start before that in Kansas City with minor oblique pain. One has to wonder if he is completely healthy right now. Doubront has started 23 games this season, the second most starts in his career. In just his fourth season in the majors, Doubront has no playoff experience.

Clay Buchholz: Buchholz has not thrown a pitch in a game since June 8. However, it appears he could be nearing a return. Buchholz is scheduled to throw a three-inning, 50 pitch simulated game on Wednesday. He could be in line for at least one rehab start in the minors before joining the Red Sox in September. Adding an arm like Buchholz for the stretch run and possibly the playoffs would be the ideal situation for the Sox. That is if he's still as dominant as he was at the beginning of the year when Buchholz was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA.

What say you, Red Sox Lifer's? With the season on the line, who gets the ball?

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