If there's a WC game and the Sox can line up who they want, who should start?

Who should start the do or die game, if they get there?


  • Total voters
    250
  • Poll closed .

Ale Xander

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Houck for 3-4 innings
Sale for 3-4
Finish with Whitlock

Eovaldi game 1 and 5 of the ALDS.
 

Max Power

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Both. Pitch Sale as long as he can go and let Eovaldi finish it. Don't touch any of the dreck in the bullpen.
 

Apisith

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Eovaldi has been a stud all year. Sale against a righty heavy team like the Yankees would be a big risk.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Both. Pitch Sale as long as he can go and let Eovaldi finish it. Don't touch any of the dreck in the bullpen.
What's the point of winning the wild card game if Martin Perez has to start a playoff game because you used both Sale and Eovaldi to reach the ALDS?
 

Salem's Lot

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What's the point of winning the wild card game if Martin Perez has to start a playoff game because you used both Sale and Eovaldi to reach the ALDS?
Because you can still win game 2 of the ALDS, tie the series, and have home field advantage in the last 3 games? Where if you lose the wildcard game the season is over?
 

dynomite

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Because you can still win game 2 of the ALDS, tie the series, and have home field advantage in the last 3 games? Where if you lose the wildcard game the season is over?
Right, it’s especially curious to assume we couldn’t possibly win a game against the #1 seeded Rays in Tampa where we started ERod and they started their ace McClanahan considering… that happened two weeks ago? https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TBA/TBA202109020.shtml

I’m fine with pretty much any scenario that gets us into the ALDS. From there, it’s a “don’t let us win tonight” situation.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Going with Eovaldi but it really is situational. Also..... Sale hasn't pitched for over half the season. Barely got to see enough of him before he got Covid.
 

ookami7m

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As much as it feels wrong, Evo is the right answer here. But Sale definitely on deck if he struggles.
 

DJnVa

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It's interesting that most of the comments say Eovaldi, but the vote is going to Sale.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Here's a useful breakdown from Chad Jennings at the Athletic. The only issue I see is that Sale doesn't pitch against the NYY in that 3 game series but that might be the way the math works at this point.
  • Thursday: Off day
  • Friday: Sale
  • Saturday: Rodriguez/Pivetta
  • Sunday: Eovaldi
  • Monday: Off day
  • Tuesday: Rodriguez/Pivetta/Houck
  • Wednesday: Sale
  • Thursday: Off day
  • Friday: Eovaldi
  • Saturday: Rodriguez/Pivetta/Houck
  • Sunday: Rodiguez/Pivetta/Houck
  • Monday: Off day
  • Tuesday: Sale

After next Tuesday, the Red Sox will have exactly five games left, which lines up nicely for one last turn through the rotation, with Sale on normal rest for Game 162 (which might be a must-win) and Eovaldi fully rested for a potential wild-card game (which certainly will be a must-win).
 

ElcaballitoMVP

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Eovaldi with Sale in relief. Win, advance, worry about who's starting the next round when you get there.
 

dynomite

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The way things are going we have to consider the possibility that there's a tie breaker/ play in game and then the WC game.
Right there’s just too many scenarios to predict things right now.

As I mentioned elsewhere, there’s also a chance that the Sox are up 1 game for their playoff spot on the Yankees/Blue Jays/someone going into that final Sunday and will have to decide whether to start Eovaldi and go all out to beat the Nats or hold guys in reserve — or, of course, that they need to burn Sale and Eovaldi that final weekend in DC just to catch up and tie for a Wild Card spot.

My suggestion is to just win out. Seems like the easiest way to handle.
 

DJnVa

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The way things are going we have to consider the possibility that there's a tie breaker/ play in game and then the WC game.
Of course, but for purposes of *this thread*, he asked who you'd line up anyone you want who would it be.
 

tims4wins

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Again, I don’t understand this thread. There is basically no way the Sox have a WC spot locked up prior to the Nats series. This is all a moo point. You know, like a cow’s opinion. Moo. It’s akin to me starting a What Should I Do If I Win The Lottery thread.
 

Sin Duda

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Again, I don’t understand this thread. There is basically no way the Sox have a WC spot locked up prior to the Nats series. This is all a moo point. You know, like a cow’s opinion. Moo. It’s akin to me starting a What Should I Do If I Win The Lottery thread.
I disagree. With the extra off days, they absolutely can lineup their starters for the remaining games and for the WC game. One such exercise on The Athletic showed Sale and Evo getting additional starts and pitching Game 162 and the WC, respectively.
 

tims4wins

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I disagree. With the extra off days, they absolutely can lineup their starters for the remaining games and for the WC game. One such exercise on The Athletic showed Sale and Evo getting additional starts and pitching Game 162 and the WC, respectively.
Having it line up somewhat coincidentally and purposefully lining it up are totally different ideas. Lining up their starters for the WC game would mean pitching whoever you want in the WC game starting on Thursday 9/30 so that starter would have normal 4 days rest for the WC game, and it would also likely mean only having them throw 50-70 pitches. If the Sox are roughly tied for the WC heading into the final weekend, I sure as hell don't want them holding out Sale or Eovaldi for a potential WC game. They're going to need to win at least one game that weekend, and possibly two, maybe even three, just to make the playoffs. Maybe the rotation order shakes out so that one of Sale or Eovaldi can go Monday or Tuesday. But that will not come at the expense of holding one of them out over the weekend. They're going to need those wins.

Here's a useful breakdown from Chad Jennings at the Athletic. The only issue I see is that Sale doesn't pitch against the NYY in that 3 game series but that might be the way the math works at this point.
  • Thursday: Off day
  • Friday: Sale
  • Saturday: Rodriguez/Pivetta
  • Sunday: Eovaldi
  • Monday: Off day
  • Tuesday: Rodriguez/Pivetta/Houck
  • Wednesday: Sale
  • Thursday: Off day
  • Friday: Eovaldi
  • Saturday: Rodriguez/Pivetta/Houck
  • Sunday: Rodiguez/Pivetta/Houck
  • Monday: Off day
  • Tuesday: Sale

After next Tuesday, the Red Sox will have exactly five games left, which lines up nicely for one last turn through the rotation, with Sale on normal rest for Game 162 (which might be a must-win) and Eovaldi fully rested for a potential wild-card game (which certainly will be a must-win).
Edit: extrapolating this out, it would go:

Wednesday 9/29: Eovaldi
Thursday 9/30: Rodriguez / Pavetta / Houck
Friday 10/1: same
Saturday 10/2: same
Sunday 10/3: Sale if you need to win, anyone if you have a WC wrapped up

So it's more coincidental than anything. The question might be better framed as "if both Eovaldi and Sale are available on normal rest, who would you rather start the playoff game?" Because that is a valid question.
 

cantor44

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I disagree. With the extra off days, they absolutely can lineup their starters for the remaining games and for the WC game. One such exercise on The Athletic showed Sale and Evo getting additional starts and pitching Game 162 and the WC, respectively.
The only caveat being that there may be a game 163 that proceeds a WC game. Damn, it's even possible there will be a game 163 and 164 that proceed a WC game!
 

mfried

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It's interesting that most of the comments say Eovaldi, but the vote is going to Sale.
I think Eovaldi can go 6 or 7 possibly followed by Houck and Whitlock. Save Sale for the ALDS first game.
 

snowmanny

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Cole for the Yankees is on the same schedule as Eovaldi, and Ray for the Blue Jays is a day later and is also set up for the WC game, so all three of the top contenders are set up nicely.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I’m not so sure about that; this is coming off of TJ Chris Sale, he’s still rusty. He also gives up a lot of home runs, Eovaldi doesn’t. Against Toronto, I think it’s a close call.
 

jmcc5400

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That was the right decision.

Everyone who says anything but Sale in this case is radically overthinking things.
Or maybe they've seen Sale's last couple of starts and question his ability to get swings and misses once he gets to two strikes. Or that if you start Eovaldi you can bring Sale out next and then either Houck or Whitlock so that you're attacking the lineup R-L-R. Certainly, if the opponent is the MFY, Eovaldi seems clearly to be the better choice. Toronto may be a closer call.
 

joe dokes

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As I sit here and type this, I trust Eovaldi more than Sale against a playoff-quality opponent.
 

Al Zarilla

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Look at that Sox lineup in support of Pattin:

2B John Kennedy, career BWAR - (minus) 2.9, batting leadoff.

3B Phil Gagliano, 14 lifetime home runs in 12 seasons, batting cleanup.

C Vic Correll, career BWAR -0.6 and total plate appearances of 4 (that game only) for the Sox, batting eighth.

It will be a long time before I complain about a Red Sox lineup again.

Sox won that game 4-1.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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As I sit here and type this, I trust Eovaldi more than Sale against a playoff-quality opponent.
That’s pretty aggressive sounding. I think if it’s the Yankees…. I cautiously would start Eovaldi. Against anyone else… it’s cautiously Sale.
I like that it’s 2 great starters this year.
I’m less confident with Erod than I thought I would be 6 months ago. He’s been so inconsistent.
Pivetta as the 4th starter I’m okay with…. But not as a 3 replacing Erod

Edit- a good 6 innings tonight would boost my confidence
 

jmcc5400

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That’s pretty aggressive sounding. I think if it’s the Yankees…. I cautiously would start Eovaldi. Against anyone else… it’s cautiously Sale.
I like that it’s 2 great starters this year.
I’m less confident with Erod than I thought I would be 6 months ago. He’s been so inconsistent.
Pivetta as the 4th starter I’m okay with…. But not as a 3 replacing Erod

Edit- a good 6 innings tonight would boost my confidence
Sale has a 4.26 FIP. In his two starts against a playoff offense - both Tampa - he's given up 16 hits, walked 3 and hit 2 in 9.2 innings. Is he currently a "great" starter? Not based on what I've seen. Don't get me wrong, he's been good, but I think he's pretty clearly our second best starter right now -emphasis on "right now." Obviously, I hope he quiets my concerns about him in his next couple of starts.
 

curly2

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Look at that Sox lineup in support of Pattin:

2B John Kennedy, career BWAR - (minus) 2.9, batting leadoff.

3B Phil Gagliano, 14 lifetime home runs in 12 seasons, batting cleanup.

C Vic Correll, career BWAR -0.6 and total plate appearances of 4 (that game only) for the Sox, batting eighth.

It will be a long time before I complain about a Red Sox lineup again.

Sox won that game 4-1.
They were playing all the scrubs because they had been eliminated the night before, it was game 162 and why make distraught -- and possibly hungover veterans -- like Yaz, Rico and Harper play.
 

Rasputin

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Or maybe they've seen Sale's last couple of starts and question his ability to get swings and misses once he gets to two strikes. Or that if you start Eovaldi you can bring Sale out next and then either Houck or Whitlock so that you're attacking the lineup R-L-R. Certainly, if the opponent is the MFY, Eovaldi seems clearly to be the better choice. Toronto may be a closer call.
Sale has a 4.26 FIP. In his two starts against a playoff offense - both Tampa - he's given up 16 hits, walked 3 and hit 2 in 9.2 innings. Is he currently a "great" starter? Not based on what I've seen. Don't get me wrong, he's been good, but I think he's pretty clearly our second best starter right now -emphasis on "right now." Obviously, I hope he quiets my concerns about him in his next couple of starts.
These are prime examples of overthinking it. If two games can change your mind, you're overthinking it.

Chris Sale is our best pitcher. If he's healthy and ready to go for the Wild Card Game, you start him. It might not work, and even if it does work, we might not win the game (see Pete Schourek game) but it's the right decision.
 

jmcc5400

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These are prime examples of overthinking it. If two games can change your mind, you're overthinking it.

Chris Sale is our best pitcher. If he's healthy and ready to go for the Wild Card Game, you start him. It might not work, and even if it does work, we might not win the game (see Pete Schourek game) but it's the right decision.
We're in complete agreement that our best pitcher should start. We disagree about who that is right now. What have you seen from Sale this year that makes you think that? Sale would have been the obvious choice in 2018 and 2019 and hopefully will be in 2022 and afterwards. But I don't see how anyone could take his body of the work this year, compare it to Eovaldi's, and conclude that Sale is clearly the better pitcher today.
 

The Filthy One

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During Sunday's game, Pedro was in the NESN booth and said that he would start Sale. His main reason for doing so (aside from saying he looked "sharp," which I think is debatable) was that the Jays and the Yankees haven't seen him yet this year (the Yankees are slated to miss him this weekend, as well). I would still pitch Eovaldi, but that point has some merit, particularly if the opponent ends up being New York. The Yankees have seen Eovaldi 5 times this year already.

In any case, I suspect both pitchers are used in any Wild Card game the Red Sox would play. Neither would be allowed to face the same hitter three times (I'll put on my helmet now to prepare for the incoming), neither would be allowed to work through major jams past the first inning, and the entire game would be planned out in advance to use them both.