Francona sets rotation for week

May, 2, 2011
5/02/11
6:06
PM ET
BOSTON -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona confirmed this afternoon that Josh Beckett will get the start Wednesday night, the third game of a four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Following tonight’s matchup between Clay Buchholz and the Angels’ Jered Weaver, the rest of the series looks like this:

Tuesday: Jon Lester (3-1, 2.52) vs. Dan Haren (4-1, 1.23)
Wednesday: Beckett (2-1, 2.65) vs. Ervin Santana (1-3, 4.89)
Thursday: John Lackey (2-3, 5.65) vs. Joel Pineiro (0-0, 1.29)

Beckett, who last pitched on April 27 against Baltimore, threw a 25-pitch side bullpen this afternoon. Francona said the rationale for the order was not so much matchups, but to give his pitchers adequate time to rest up before a potentially draining stretch of games later this month. Starting May 13, the Sox play 20 straight days, including a seven-game swing in Detroit and Cleveland.

In his start against the Orioles last week, a 5-4 loss, Beckett threw 92 pitches, striking out four while allowing four earned runs on seven hits, including two homers. In the start prior to that, an extra-innings win over the Angels on April 21, he threw 125 pitches, striking out five, allowing three hits and two runs. Both were no-decisions.

“We leaned on Beckett pretty hard, and we don’t have days off coming up,” Francona said. “So, just wanted to try to get everybody situated where they all feel as good about themselves as they can physically, and I think just to give him that day is important.”

Francona also said that Daisuke Matsuzaka, who left in the fifth inning of last Friday’s game against Seattle with elbow soreness, will start Friday night in the first of a three-game series at home against Minnesota.

“We’re trying to buy him a couple days,” Francona said. “He says he doesn’t need it, but I think when somebody comes out like that we’d like to make sure they’re OK.”

Youk back in lineup: Kevin Youkilis will be inserted back into the lineup after sitting out yesterday’s 3-2 win over the Mariners with hip soreness. Youkilis will bat cleanup tonight. In 78 at-bats this season, he’s hitting .218 with five homers, 15 RBIs and a .392 on-base percentage. “We grilled him a little bit to see if he needed an extra day,” Francona said. “He didn’t think he does, and the trainers don’t and the doctors don’t. But we’ll keep an eye on him.” ... In addition to Bruins great Derek Sanderson and Celtics great Tom “Satch” Sanders throwing out joint ceremonial first pitches, a moment of silence will be observed as an American flag is draped over the Green Monster in remembrance of those killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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