Following up a five-game winning streak with a four-game losing streak is not the sort of thing that inspires confidence. For all of the hope that the two previous weeks inspired, this week has been a grim reminder of this season's struggles. But with a twist -- the injury bug that destroyed this team's legitimate hopes last year has struck the pitching staff yet again. And so the Red Sox are now going with a patchwork rotation that serves as validation of my longstanding belief: Even when we seem to have plenty of starting pitching we do not have enough starting pitching.
What to make of DiceK needing Tommy John surgery? Well, first, if he needs it he needs it. There was apparently a dispute as to whether he should go under the knife or simply let rest work its magic, but that had to be an effort at magical thinking. Guys who need Tommy John surgery actually need the surgery. Hoping that it will heal given time is a recipe for, well, for eventually needing surgery when rest fails as a medical option. Dicek came in with such high hopes and objectively he has not met those expectations. But one of the benefits of having a solid revenue stream (and let's not pretend that the Red Sox are simply one of a fortunate few -- it is the work the organization has done to make sure the team is competitive year-in and year-out that has put them in this position) is that they can afford to take risks like winning the bidding for DiceK and then rolling the dice (ha!) on signing him to a long-term deal. He still contributed to a World Series win, and that makes it worth it for just about any team, none moreso that a Red Sox fan base that should well recall the pre-2004 mindset.
So I suppose that we can look at this little bad streak as an adjustment. As I said last week, this team was never as bad as they seemed in April. They are not as good as they seemed for most of May. But I am going to continue to bet going forward on more of the latter and less of the former as baseball takes center stage in the summer months.