by Sam Nipatnantaporn 2-25-14
Pitchers and catchers are a week into workouts down in Fort Myers.Opening Day is a little more than five weeks away and with the loss of Ryan Dempster, the Red Sox are left with five veteran starting pitchers: Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Felix Doubront, and Jake Peavy.
Consistently strong starting pitching was one of the main contributors to the team’s success last season. The starting pitchers went a combined 67-42 and ranked sixth in the majors in innings pitched (984). Jon Lester went 15-8 with a 3.75 ERA in 33 regular-season starts and 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA in the postseason. Lester has proved to be the team’s ace and has earned his spot as the number one starter, followed by Buchholz and Lackey in the two and three spots, respectively.
Buchholz dealt with neck and shoulder problems last season but still managed to post a 1.74 ERA. Fresh off of Tommy John Surgery last year, Lackey also put together strong outings for the Red Sox despite a 10-13 regular season record. Lastly, since Doubront is a younger player than Peavy, he will most likely fall into the fourth spot with Peavy in fifth.Even though the Red Sox have their five starters planned out, injury is not uncommon so depth beyond the five veterans is important. Dempster’s departure sets up free spots for young pitchers such as Chris Capuano, Brandon Workman, and Allen Webster.
Capuano is preparing to be a starting pitcher, but will begin the season in the bullpen. However, should inevitable issues arise during the 162-game season, Capuano would fill any necessary short-term rotational holes, followed by Workman and Webster.