Red Sox face arms crisis

Jon Lester is the only certainty the Red Sox have on the mound as October looms. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Torrents -- torrents! -- of ink, bandwidth and tears have been spilled over the New York Yankees' rotation concerns. Yet there's another AL East colossus saddled by pitching worries, and those worries might be more serious than those of the Yankees, particularly when you factor in the hard-charging Tampa Bay Rays.

The Boston Red Sox rank eighth in the American League in runs allowed, but the current state of affairs is even more grim. Despite having a puncher's chance to finish the season with the best record in the American League, the Sox envy the pitching certainties of the Yankees. Consider that if the postseason started today, the Boston rotation would consist of Jon Lester and … hmmm.

Josh Beckett? He has been Boston's best starter on a rate basis this season, but he's presently sidelined with a bum ankle and likely won't return until next weekend at the earliest. There's also Beckett's substantial injury history to consider (he has been on the disabled list 13 times in his career, and last season he lost 75 days to injury). He's just not durable, so there's no guarantee that Beckett will be able to remain healthy and effective once he does return.