Red Sox starting rotation coming into form

Feb 13, 2017; Lee County, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello (left) and Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price (24) walk to the practice field during reporting day for pitchers and catchers at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 13, 2017; Lee County, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello (left) and Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price (24) walk to the practice field during reporting day for pitchers and catchers at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Boston Red Sox starting rotation is starting to take shape. After months of speculation, we should start to see how the order falls into place this week.

With Rick Porcello scheduled to make his first start of the spring on Friday against the Braves, the Red Sox rotation is starting to take shape. David Price pitched a simulated game yesterday and is expected to start Sunday. While Chris Sale is tossing his own simulated game today that would set him up for his club debut on Monday, against the Astros.

With this information, the Red Sox rotation is starting to show its order. Porcello, followed by Price and Sale.

The first formal answer to the question of who the Opening Day starter should be would come during their annual Winter Weekend in January. Both Price and Sale, when asked, stated that Porcello deserved the honor. Cy Young awards tend to vault players into the forefront of the discussion and rightfully so.

However, debate over who their starter began long before the fan festivities. The debate really started shortly after the Red Sox made the blockbuster deal to acquire Chris Sale.

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Immediate reaction among the fan base ranged from shock – to excitement – to anger given the prospects going Chicago’s way, but once it set in that the Sale deal was for real attention turned towards the future.

By Monday evening, we’ll have seen all three of the Red Sox ‘Aces’ make their spring debuts, setting the order for their rotation this season. If everything remains constant and Porcello takes the regular five days rest between starts, he should start the following Wednesday against the Mets. His start against the Braves on Friday won’t be televised, but the Red Sox shared a video of his simulated game so that will have to hold us over.

The positive news is spreading down their pitching rotation as well. Both Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz threw successful bullpen sessions yesterday and have been cleared to throw live BP on Friday. Meanwhile, Eduardo Rodriguez is scheduled to start Thursday, against the Rays. All three are on a rehab schedule that would have them ready for the start of the season.

The Red Sox starting depth remains thin behind their top-three, but the news that Wright, Pomeranz, and Rodriguez are moving along well is welcomed news.

The running narrative throughout the offseason has pitted their remaining three starters against each other for the final two spots. Given that fact that none of the three entered camp perfectly healthy, competition for the final two spots is more of a best-case scenario than anything else at this point.

Even under the assumption that all three are good to go with time to spare in Spring Training, both Pomeranz and Rodriguez have something to prove. Yes, Pomeranz was an All-Star last season, but he struggled mightily once coming over to the Red Sox. Meanwhile, E-Rod pitched through a hurt knee for the first half, before getting sent back to Pawtucket, only to find success in September.

Best-case scenario: Wright and Pomeranz regain their All-Star forms giving the Red Sox a solid backup option in Rodriguez. The lefty still has options that would allow the club to send him down to Pawtucket risk-free. If any of the starters falter, Rodriguez is there to step in at a moment’s notice.

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While question marks still remain, we can at least take comfort in the knowledge that three-fifths of the rotation have taken form.