Saturday, June 17, 2006

Future of the Franchise

In ten years, will you remember where you were on June 16th? I certainly will because that's the night we saw the future of the Sox rotation. If Josh Beckett can straighten himself out, we could have one of the most potent 1-2-3 starters in the league. Think Hudson, Mulder and Zito in 2003. Think Buerhle, Garland, and Contreras in 2005. Heck, think Clemens, Hurst, Boyd in 1986. The future looks good -- and it looks like it's going to be that way for a while.

What's the big deal you say? Jon Lester is the big deal. His first start last week against the Rangers was admirable. His start last night with the Sox in a "need to win" situation after a four game losing streak was awesome. I don't think the Atlanta Braves knew what to make of him. Looking at his line, and efficient 6.0 innings pitched, 1 ER, 5 strike outs and 3 BBs on 93 pitches was pretty darn impressive. This against a dangerous Atlanta team that boasts the likes of the brothers Jones (Andru and Chipper), a rejuvenated Edgar Renteria, Jeff Francoeur, Marcus Giles, and Matt Diaz.

So Lester is the first half of the equation, Papelbon is the other half. With any luck, we'll have Hanson closing by next spring and then a starting rotation that looks like this: Schilling, Wakefield, Beckett, Papelbon, and Lester. Not a bad 1-5, especially considering three of those starters are home grown (Schilling being the third).

I know it's early on and Lester has a grand total of 2 starts, 10 IP, and 1 decision under his belt, but I like what I see. This is on top of the fact that scouts and prognosticators i.e. Peter Gammons, drooling all over Lester's stuff. This also assumes that the Sox can slide Hanson (or someone) into the closer spot next year. With Big P. going 20 for 21 in save situations, it's tough to lose that insurance at the back of the pen.

Where was I on the night of June 16, the night we saw the future of the Sox? Sitting in the same place I will probably be sitting 10 years from now, in my living room watching the game. Watching the birth of a potential star, and the solidification of another star. Forgive me for getting excited but I have a feeling that this is the start of something great. Thanks Theo!

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