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DEAR JOHN

Dear John, 

I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong and I was clearly wrong about a potential September collapse. Your team isn't going to blow the division lead and you're not going to fall out of a wild card spot. I'm sorry John.  Now that I've gotten that out of the way let me just tell you my thoughts on what your rotation should look like when the playoffs begin. 

There is no question that Chris Sale is your Game 1 starter. He's pitched well enough to earn that distinction. Does he have a tendency to lose it in the second half of the season? Yes. Is he unproven in the playoffs? Yes. The fact remains he's the best you have. If your team is going to win in the playoffs then Sale is the guy that has to take you there. Don't overthink it John. Sale is your only true ace. 

That leads us to Game 2 where Drew Pomeranz has to be on the mound. I think a lot of people underestimated what Pomeranz was even capable of this season. This is a guy who couldn't find a way to last more than five innings in a game his whole career but everything changed once you lost it on him in Oakland. Good job John!!! It turns out that Pomeranz actually has a spine. He really does want to compete at the highest level. You can't make a case for any other starter being in this spot. I would feel good about Pomeranz being on that mound for you come Game 2.

Now this is where things get interesting. Who deserves to be your Game 3 starter. After watching everyone pitch this season, this spot has to go to Eduardo Rodriguez. The strikeout upside is through the roof. Power pitching is extremely important in the playoffs. Pitching to contact is the ultimate October disaster. It's obvious that he has trouble giving you more than six innings but you don't need anything more than five innings from your Game 3 starter John. It's all hands on deck when you get to October. Give you five and then you can turn it over to your bullpen. You don't have to save the bullpen when you're fighting for your playoff life. Rodriguez gives you upside Rick Porcello and Doug Fister just can't give you. Give the ball to Erod in this spot and don't look back John. 

Believe me I know what you're probably thinking. This moron is out of his mind. He's really going to tell me that Porcello doesn't belong in the playoff rotation? Porcello is a Cy Young award winner. He started on opening day for me this season. You should be banned from writing about the Red Sox. What I say to that is, trust me John. I'm your friend. I wouldn't lead you down the wrong path. Porcello and his 4.64 ERA this season shouldn't belong any where near your playoff rotation. The guy is just too hittable. He's most likely going to give up 40 home runs and break Tim Wakefield's season record of 38 home runs allowed. Do you really want this guy starting in the playoffs for you. If he couldn't give you a quality start in Game 1 last season in a year where he messed around and won a Cy Young award, what makes you think he's going to go out there and pitch well for you in a year where he's struggled? The Porcello love has simply gone too far. He has a career 4.25 ERA. He's been a bad starter for the majority of his career. He was so bad two years ago for you that you had to send him down to the minors to get his head straight. Put him on the playoff roster and if you're lucky enough to be ahead 2-1 heading into Game 4 then consider starting him so you at least have Sale for Game 5 or hopefully Game 1 of the ALCS. If you're down 2-1, just roll with Sale. 

I'm not even going to entertain the possibility of a David Price or Doug Fister playoff start. You know that John. You've already said Price is your newest multi-inning reliever. Put Price and Fister in the bullpen and see where it goes. It would be great if Price could build up his pitch count to a starter's level before the season ends but it's just not realistic. If he proves you wrong then by all means he should be your Game 3 starter with Rodriguez sitting in the bullpen as a result. 

I hope you listen to me John. I promise you that this will be the best advice you ever listened to. I want the best for this team. I want the best for you. I don't want you to lose your job. Just follow everything I wrote in this article and you'll be just fine. 

Sincerely Yours,

Philip Camara
                                                








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