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General manager Ben Cherington has dramatically changed the roster of a team that lost 93 games last season.
But only 16 percent of all the money spent has gone to improve the team’s greatest weakness: the starting rotation. Pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers, Fla., six weeks from today, and the Red Sox have a group of starting pitchers who can’t yet be considered trustworthy.
They have a lineup that could prove potent and a greatly improved bullpen. But the rotation remains a concern, given the lack of changes when compared with the rest of the team.
Red Sox starters were 48-72 with a 5.19 earned run average last season, the third-worst ERA in the American League. Opponents hit 135 home runs against the Sox and had a .790 OPS.
The three pitchers who started the most games — Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and Felix Doubront — return as the core of the rotation. Lester had a 4.82 ERA, Buchholz a 4.56, and Doubront a 4.86.
Globe: Mound of questions
Call me crazy but I don't think the rotation is going to be that bad this year. Clay Buchholz looked terrible in the beginning of the season, but turned it around in the summer time where there were shades of the All Star he once was. Jon Lester had a rough season as well but he's in the prime of his career and one would like to think that after the season he had, he would bounce back and remind everyone that he's still one of the best left handed pitchers in the league. Felix Doubront had an up and down first season in the rotation but he proved capable of being a fifth starter in the majors.
And since this is the new year and everyone is making some sort of bold or crazy prediction, I'll go record and say John Lackey will have himself a good season. Something like 15 wins, with a ERA in the 3.40 range and fans may actually end up liking him. Crazy I know!
The only wonder is if Ryan Dempster will return as the guy we saw with the Cubs and not the pitcher that the Rangers overpaid to get only to see their AL West title and playoffs hopes taken from them.
After seeing how awful the rotation was last year, it can't get any worse then that, hence all my optimism. Well that and my New Year's resolution was to be more optimistic. I'm just hoping that I won't look back at this article a few months from now and wonder what the hell I was thinking.