Here comes the cavalry.
Regardless of what Theo Epstein does between now and next Saturday’s trade deadline, the late-season reinforcements the Red Sox desperately need are on their way.
Best of all, they won’t cost Epstein a dime. After months of playing shorthanded, the first of the walking wounded returns to action tonight in Oakland. Clay Buchholz, who can’t seem to run the bases without running into trouble, will make his first start since June 26 after spending nearly four weeks on the DL.
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The good news doesn’t end there. Josh Beckett, out since May 19 with a lower back strain, will start Friday night in Anaheim. It will mark the first time since mid-May that the five-man rotation of Beckett, Buchholz, Jon Lester, John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka will pitch consecutively.
The Red Sox anticipated riding their stable of ace starters to the top of the American League East standings. Now, with Beckett and Buchholz returning just as Yankees starter Andy Pettitte is sidelined 4-6 weeks with a groin injury, the Sox may be poised to make their move.
After Matsuzaka, who appears clear of his injury woes, fired a gem Monday night in a 2-1 victory over Oakland to start their 10-game West Coast swing, the Red Sox entered play Tuesday night just six games back of the Yankees.