Fire Brand: State of the Rotation: The Good, The Bad, The Future

My latest article for Fire Brand of the American League looks at the Red Sox starting five, what happened in 2010 and what to expect in 2011.

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Looking at the names of the Red Sox starting rotation this preseason, one couldn’t help but think that that front five would be the main reason the Sox would contend in 2010. While there have been a couple of nice stories in Lester and Buchholz, the overall outcome was a big letdown.

What has gone right, what has gone wrong and what do we have to look forward to in 2011?

The ace: Jon Lester

Approaching 200 innings for the third straight season, Jon Lester has established himself as the clear ace of the Red Sox. Last season, Lester made a huge jump in his K/9 going from 6.5 to 9.7 while maintaining a very good walk rate. This season, Lester’s 9.85 K/9 ranks second in baseball to Brandon Morrow (minimum 100 IP). While he had some streaks where his command was off, Lester made a huge adjustment overall to work consistently down in the zone. That enabled him to fix his home runs allowed problem from last season as well as see his ground ball rate jump from about 47 percent over the last two seasons to about 54 percent this season. All signs point to READ THE REST AT FIRE BRAND OF THE AMERICAN LEAGUE>>>>>