On Wednesday, Terry Francona name Jon Lester the pitcher for Opening Day. On Thursday, he announced the rest of the Red Sox starting rotation.
Following Lester will be John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka, in that order. Francona said this will be the rotation for at least "two turns" once the regular season starts. With this rotation, it will be Lackey on the hill in the Sox home opener, against the Yankees.
"Lackey has a way of matching up against whoever he's pitching against,'' Francona said, "whether it's a No. 1 or No. 5, you look up in the seventh inning you have a chance to win, which we really like.
"Buck did so good. I think we feel having Buck come out third just enhances our chance to win a little bit. Buck's numbers would say he could pitch anywhere. I just think Lack's a veteran, he's done it, spacing [Buchholz] and Lester out, there's something to be said for that, too.
While the rotation itself isn't too surprising -- especially Lester at the top -- Beckett getting dropped to the No. 4 spot does present some questions at Over The Monster:
Beckett is the first giant question in the rotation. The Beckett of 2010 was a complete enigma--his peripherals were OK, but significantly worse than usual; his results were just terrible. Hopefully a return to health in 2011 will bring him closer to the Beckett of 2007. If he is as ineffective as he was in 2010, it is going to make life a lot harder for the Red Sox.