Allen Webster has been demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket as of yesterday, but his turn in the rotation comes around once more before the All-Star Break. With Clay Buchholz still injured, the Red Sox will have to turn to an arm that has not been seen much (if at all) this year. John Farrell has narrowed the possibilities down to Drake Britton, Steven Wright, and Brandon Workman. Both Workman and Wright are on the Red Sox 25-man roster, and Britton is in Triple-A with almost no experience there.
Workman was called up to the majors two days ago, and made his major league debut yesterday. He struggled in his first inning of work, but settled down in his second. Between the two frames, his first outing was not overly impressive as he allowed 3 runs in 2 innings; however, he did strike out 4 batters. Workman would be pitching on three days’ rest, but it’s worth noting that he only pitched two innings.
Unfortunately, recent pitching is the most likely thing to cross Steven Wright’s name off this list. Wright was the hero in today’s 10-inning win in Seattle, as he went 5.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. As well as he pitched, and he should be rewarded, he shouldn’t pitch on two days of rest after going 5.2 innings. However, as a knuckleballer, it would not be nearly as catastrophic for him to go on two days of rest as it might be for a normal pitcher.
The final option and seemingly least likely to start Sunday is Drake Britton. SoxProspects rates Britton as the #13 prospect in the Red Sox’ system. Britton had a good start to his 2013 season in Portland, posting a 3.51 ERA and 76:38 K:BB ratio in 84.2 innings pitched. However, Britton has only made one start in Pawtucket, and allowed 5 runs in 5.1 innings. It seems like it would be a foolish move to thrust Britton into the fire of the majors before he has even figured out Triple-A.
If I were John Farrell, Workman would be my choice to start Sunday’s game in Oakland. It seems reasonable that he would be fully rested by Sunday as long as he doesn’t pitch in the interim; being a starter, the two innings he threw yesterday shouldn’t faze him. Wright pitched great today, but he may not be rested enough by Sunday. Starting Britton just seems like a dumb move, especially given that he has trade value that could be hurt by a terrible MLB debut. Workman isn’t a great option, but given the alternatives, he seems like the best.