The Boston Red Sox are in the thick of an American League playoff push.
But with just 16 games left in the regular season, the team is going to have to get creative with its pitching staff.
Poor play and a roster ravished by COVID-19 has seen Boston fall considerably out of favor in the division. A series opening loss to the Seattle Mariners on Monday allowed Toronto to take the first Wild Card spot, and the New York Yankees currently edge Boston out of the second one.
In return, the Red Sox are devising a plan when it comes to their rotation and relief. According to manager Alex Cora, they’ve discussed reshuffling the order, and using starting pitchers out of the bullpen (with the exception of Chris Sale).
“We were going over the rotation,” Cora said Tuesday ahead of a second game against the Mariners. “We actually talked a little bit today and did some mapping out of who faces who, how many outings, you know? You’ve got to be smart about it right? You want certain guys facing certain teams or you want certain guys to pitch as many games as possible.”
Following a series finale with Seattle, Boston has two days off before a series against and the Baltimore Orioles. Contingent on Sale’s return from the COVID-19 related injury list this weekend, the shakeup could come right after that.
Cora didn’t elaborate on what exactly those changes would be, but you could imagine someone like Tanner Houck being used out of the pen for extended relief is be plausible — as is a starter going on short rest.
“I think with how many days we have (off), we’ve got two next week and then one more. That’s three,” Cora said.
“So we’ve got a chance to to do that, be smart about it and maximize the whole roster.”
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