07/09/2003 7:08 PM ET
Notes: Setting up the rotation
Lowe, Mendoza and Martinez to start second half
TORONTO -- Boston may have the top offense in the American League, but with the pitching staff sporting a 4.66 ERA and bunched in the middle of the pack, the Red Sox need more out of their arms if they are going to stick around for the postseason.
By Stephanie J. Geosits / Special to MLB.com
"Well, I think that goes without being said," said manager Grady Little. "If you haven't got some pitching, you're not going to go a long way. You can go a long way with the kind of offense we have, but you better do some pitching, too."
With that in mind, Little is trying to plan out a second-half rotation.
"Tentatively Derek [Lowe]'s going to go the first game and after that, we're not really quite positive on everything else just yet," Little added. "We'll know in Detroit [where the Red Sox finish the first half of the season]."
Pedro Martinez will probably start the third game back.
Little has been seeing some encouraging signs from Ramiro Mendoza, who made his first start of the season in a win against New York last week and will take the mound Thursday against the Blue Jays.
"He showed us a much better sinker," Little said. "The sinker that we remembered from the past, he showed us over there in New York. He showed us a better kind of body language than he'd been showing us earlier in the season. He had some success over in New York, and we feel like he can continue that success and can get that sinkerball working and downstairs where it needs to be."
With Mendoza in the rotation following Lowe, the Red Sox are faced with starting sinkerballers on consecutive days.
"Some things we just can't hide from," Little said. "We'd like to design it where it wouldn't happen, but we can't. We haven't been able to. [It's] just like, ideally, we'd like to have Pedro pitch in every one of those series against New York, but sometimes the circumstances might prevent us from doing that."
Little is confident that his aces will shuffle themselves.
"Things work themselves out," he said. "It might not start out like that in the second half, but after a week or two it might be like that."
No Nomar: Nomar Garciaparra did not start Wednesday's game. The Red Sox shortstop is just 7-for-36 after eight games of this 13-contest road trip. On Tuesday night, he went 0-for-5.
"That bat's getting awful heavy for him right now and if anybody ever needed a day off, it's him," Little said.
"And this is a guy that's not going to get an All-Star break."
After beginning their road trip in Tampa and the Bronx, the Red Sox have one more game against the Blue Jays and three in Detroit prior to the Midsummer Classic.
"Neither he nor I wanted to do it in New York and we picked today," Little said. "He's not going to take any BP, no ground balls, no anything. He's going to give his body a total day off, but he'll be around at the end of the game if we need him."
His manager didn't have to delve to far into the stats in making his decision. Garciaparra is 1-for-19 since Friday.
"Not just in the game but in BP and everything you can tell when a guy's body needs to be refreshed," Little said.
Leadoff Trot: The Red Sox will continue the experiment begun Tuesday night, batting Trot Nixon at the top of the order and Johnny Damon eighth. Damon went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and scored the game-winning run. Nixon went 0-for-6.
Nixon led Wednesday's game off with a double to left and scored on a Todd Walker sacrifice fly.
Varitek gets the nod: Prior to Wednesday's game, it was announced that Jason Varitek gained the last spot on the AL All-Star roster for the July 15 All-Star Game. The Red Sox catcher, who will attend his first Midsummer Classic, received 3,210,509 votes from fans in the AL balloting for the etopps All-Star Final Vote.
One thing is certain: he had his manager's vote.
"I think he deserves to go, but out of five people, they're just going to vote on one and if he goes to Chicago or doesn't go to Chicago, I still think very highly of Jason Varitek," Little said in his pregame press conference before the selection was revealed.
Fossum rehabbing: Casey Fossum made his second rehab appearance for Double-A Portland Tuesday night. On the disabled list with left shoulder tendinitis since June 8, he started and threw two scoreless innings.
"The report was good," Little said. "His next time out will be in Pawtucket on Thursday or Friday. He'll be with the [Triple-A] Pawtucket team and come out of the pen, and then we'll go from there."
Stephanie J. Geosits is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.