Drew Pomeranz sure looked sharp Friday night, pitching five innings against the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing one run, four hits and zero walks.

Pomeranz should get one more start this week. Then do the Red Sox show Pomeranz the door – the one leading to the bullpen?

With Boston headed toward the postseason, who do the Red Sox go with in the rotation after Rick Porcello and David Price (listed in order of my preference)?

These are the enjoyable questions New Englanders love to wrestle with. Better than the “What in blazes happened to this team?” (See postseason debates, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.)

The playoffs, with the scheduled days off, require that teams carry only a four-man rotation.

Porcello. Check.


Price. Check.

Eduardo Rodriguez … likely.

Clay Buchholz … probably.

Pomeranz … questionable.

Steven Wright … doubtful (very).

In the case of Wright, that three-hit shutout he pitched Aug. 5 seems like last season. Since then he’s been on the disabled list with a sore shoulder (injured while pinch running … we will pause here while you rant about that decision), and then rushed back to make two unsuccessful starts (nine earned runs in 10 innings).


Wright was initially expected to throw a bullpen for the Red Sox before Sunday’s game but now the team is saying he’s not ready.

It appears too little, too late to return him to the rotation. Even the bullpen seems like a remote idea.

Pomeranz has appeared tired recently, which is why Boston limited him to 78 pitches Friday night. He has pitched 1691/3 innings this season, or more than 70 innings beyond his previous high (96 2/3) in 2012, when started 22 games in Colorado, along with pitching another 50 innings in the minors.

Before Friday, Pomeranz’s last two starts featured outings of two innings (five runs) and 32/3 innings (four runs).

He has not pitched into the seventh inning since August.

So if Pomeranz is taken out of the rotation for the playoffs, does he become Felix Doubront or Jeff Suppan?


Doubront, Sea Dogs fans will remember, was the talented left-hander in the Red Sox organization who could just never put it all together (he is currently with Oakland, recovering from Tommy John surgery). In 2013, despite his displeasure, he was jettisoned to the bullpen for the postseason.

Doubront responded with a 1.29 ERA in four playoff games, including a clutch 22/3 innings of one-run ball in Game 4 of the World Series. Doubront followed Buchholz (who was hurting and limited to four innings) and was the winning pitcher.

Jeff Suppan, like Pomeranz, was a pitcher acquired by Boston before the 2003 trading deadline to solidify the playoff run. Suppan was 10-7 with a 3.57 ERA with Pittsburgh, and Boston dealt infielder Freddy Sanchez for him (Sanchez would win the 2006 National League batting title).

With Boston, Suppan was 3-4 with a 5.57 ERA. Boston left him off the postseason roster and he was granted free agency in the offseason. Pomeranz, by the way, is not eligible for free agency until 2019.

Pomeranz would figure to have value in the bullpen. He’s still a good pitcher, can provide long relief and he’s done this before, with 58 career relief appearances.

Buchholz could go to the bullpen. He adapted to the role for part of this season (16 appearances, 3.57 ERA).


Buchholz is similar to Rodriguez in a Jekyll-and-Hyde sort of aggravating way.

After sizzling in San Diego in early September, Buchholz took on the Blue Jays and lasted only three innings (six runs). Since then, Buchholz has pitched two solid starts (13 total innings, three runs).

Rodriguez came close to pitching a no-hitter in Oakland on Sept. 4. Two starts later he couldn’t get out of the third inning (four earned runs). Then he dazzled in his last start.

Unlike Pomeranz and Buchholz, Rodriguez has never relieved before.

So who are your Game 3 and 4 starters in a playoff series? Go with Rodriguez and Buchholz.

They both have shown they can dominate when they are on, and go deep enough into games.

Yes, there is the inconsistency that worries everyone. But in a playoff game, Manager John Farrell would be quick with a hook. If Rodriguez or Buchholz were faltering, Farrell could call on someone to give quality innings: Pomeranz.


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