Red Sox announce initial rotation

March, 26, 2010
The Boston Red Sox on Friday set their starting pitching to begin the regular season, manager Terry Francona saying the team would use a unique five-man rotation out of the gate and, as expected, tabbing Josh Beckett to pitch the opener against the New York Yankees.

Beckett will be followed by Jon Lester and John Lackey in that opening series at Fenway Park. The Red Sox gave Tim Wakefield the nod at the No. 4 spot over Clay Buchholz, the knuckleballer starting the team’s first road game of the season in Kansas City on Friday, April 9.

Wakefield will be followed in Kansas City by Beckett (on five days rest) and Buchholz, who will debut on Sunday, April 11. From there, Lester (five days rest), Lackey (six days rest) and Wakefield (five days rest) will go against the Twins.

The unique format allows the Red Sox to start both Wakefield and Buchholz in the first week of the season while also getting the rest of the rotation extra rest.

“I think it’s a lot of relief for the five guys in the rotation to have a clear picture, of once the season begins, where they are going to be starting and who they are going to be going against," pitching coach John Farrell said following the Red Sox's 3-2 victory over the Blue Jays in exhibition play.

"We still have a lot of work left in spring training, but there is always that thought in the back of every starter’s mind of ‘Where do I line up?’ I think with the five starters we have, in combination with the work they’re doing in spring training, plus what they did for us last year and in previous years, we feel good about the five guys we’ll begin the season with.”

Still undetermined is when and where Daisuke Matsuzaka fits into the rotation. Francona announced Thursday the Japanese right-hander would miss at least the first two weeks of the season after being delayed by back and neck ailments.

Here’s the game-by-game rundown:

Sunday, April 4 vs. Yankees -- Josh Beckett
Tuesday, April 6 vs. Yankees -- Jon Lester
Wednesday, April 7 vs. Yankees -- John Lackey
Friday, April 9 vs. Royals -- Tim Wakefield
Saturday, April 10 vs. Royals -- Josh Beckett
Sunday, April 11 vs. Royals -- Clay Buchholz
Monday, April 12 vs. Twins -- Jon Lester
Wednesday, April 14 vs. Twins -- John Lackey
Thursday, April 15 vs. Twins -- Tim Wakefield



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