BOSTON — Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced Saturday how he’ll set his starting rotation coming out of the All-Star break next weekend.
After four days off from Monday through Thursday while All-Star festivities take place in Seattle, the Sox will begin the second half of their season with three games against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. In order, Brayan Bello, James Paxton and Kutter Crawford will start against the Cubs.
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Boston then will head to Oakland for a three-game set against the Athletics. Cora said the team will likely have two straight bullpen games to begin that series (Monday and Tuesday) before Bello pitches on regular rest in the series finale Wednesday afternoon. Nick Pivetta, who is being built up as a bulk reliever who can go multiple innings every five days, will likely see a significant role either Monday or Tuesday.
While the Red Sox appear comfortable with two bullpen games every five days, there’s at least a possibility the club could turn to Triple-A Worcester for a spot starter to temporarily fill in while Garrett Whitlock (bone bruise in elbow), Tanner Houck (facial fracture) and Chris Sale (stress fracture in scapula) work their way back from the injured list. Recent free agent signee Kyle Barraclough has pitched well in three starts for the WooSox, posting a 2.12 ERA and striking out 14 batters in 17 innings. Boston also recently signed former Padres starter Dinelson Lamet to a minor league deal and is working to tinker some things with him in Worcester. Lamet has not yet appeared in a game for Worcester.
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Cora did not name a starter for Sunday, which is expected to be a bullpen game against the A’s.