07/13/08 2:25 PM ET
Red Sox set rotation for second half
Buchholz to start first game after break on Friday vs. Angels
By Mark Remme / MLB.com
The Sox expect to send Clay Buchholz to the hill on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels for the first game after the break, followed by Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield. Francona will then start Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka for the first two games of the Seattle series before Buchholz takes the final game of the road trip.
The Sox will then return home to Fenway Park for a three-game set with the Yankees.
"The idea is to incorporate rest for some people and some balance," Francona said. "I think we're accomplishing that."
Lester is scheduled fourth in the rotation after the break, but Francona didn't necessarily correlate the extra time off for the young lefty with the large number of innings he's thrown this year. Lester threw 125 innings in the first half of the season, the most of anyone on the team and fifth most in the American League.
Francona said Lester is feeling fine and doesn't exactly need the rest at the moment. More so, he's looking to preserve the 24-year-old over the long haul.
"The idea is to continue that [durability over many innings] over the course of about 12 years," Francona said.
The way the rotation is set up, Beckett, Wakefield and Lester are scheduled to start against the Yankees at home on July 25-27. If everything goes as planned, that would be the ideal pitching lineup for Francona and the Sox in that series.
Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.