So there’s this nasty, nasty virus going around the office. No, it’s not ennui… it’s something far worse. Like this horrific sinus infection kinda thing, that works folks over like that moon rock that turned John Jameson into the Man-Wolf. It ain’t pretty, folks. And now I’ve got it. Sure, I saw it coming; folks in my department have been dropping like dominoes all week. I could have taken the necessary precuations… say, for instance, popping some extra vitamin C or maybe wearing pants around the office. But where’s the fun in that?

Anyway, for health reasons, the post that was planned for today has been cleverly replaced with a piece I wrote for the last Barstool Sports. It’s a sort of “state of the starting pitching,” and it was written before Wells decided to stay, so keep that in mind.

Stay clean, peeps. And if you need me, I’m in the sack.

Curt Schilling: Time for absolute, brutal honesty here: If Schilling can’t cut it, we’re f–ked. Done. Out of the gate, see you later, don’t bother switching off the lights. This is a pitching staff with so many question marks that we absolutely, positively need The Prince of Medfield to slip into the Big Pants and come up huge for us in 2006. Do I think he has it in him? Hell, yes. But that doesn’t seal the deal. He’s another year older. His ankle is… well, we certainly hope it’s okay. And, Christ, there’s all that stumping for George Bush’s Iraq policy that he’s gonna have to get to. We need something in the range of 17 or 18 wins from the guy. If we don’t get them, we may be shut out of the postseason for the first time in four years.

Josh Beckett: If he can stay healthy, I can’t imagine Beckett not having a monster year. He’s young, full of piss and lightning, and has actually had sex with Leeann Tweeden. On that last fact alone, the Gods may choose to grant him immortality. But, again, we’re dealing with an “if.” Beckett gets hurt. A lot. And if he goes down for any length of time, things could get real ugly, real fast. At the very least, he’ll likely be as interesting to watch as Pedro was in his prime, and I’m pretty jazzed about it. Twenty wins? Hell, he’s new to the American League… it could happen.

Tim Wakefield: You never quite know what you’re gonna get out of Wakey. One minute, he’s got hitters so mystified they aren’t sure whether to sh-t or wind their watches. The next, he’s being taken deep by everyone shy of Johnny Pesky. It’s an equation that’s dogged him for the last few seasons in Boston, and I’d imagine he’s gonna stick pretty close to the script this year. But he brings consistency, is very rarely hurt, and is a gamer in the truest sense of the word. Not only can he work on short rest, as spot relief, or to close games out, he does it without bitching and moaning about how “tha man’s” keeping him down. Christ, remember how he got left off the postseason roster a couple years back, and took it like a champ, where some fellow teammates might have launched intercontinental ballistics down Yawkey Way? Give me a team of Wakefields, and I swear by all that’s holy I’d build a bridge across the f–king Pacific Ocean in one day. We’d give up a sh–load of home-runs, but we’d get a pretty nice bridge goin’.

Bronson Arroyo: I still have a sneaking suspicion that Our Man Brandon [as A-Rod once called him] will be starting the 2006 season with another team. If he sticks around, hey, that’s cool, too. Because he’s probably good for about 15-16 wins. Sure, we’ll have to put up with more of that singing, but it’s a small price to pay if he buckles down and turns in a career year. Bonus points if he keeps snogging local college chicks!

David Wells: I, for one, am going to miss the David Wells era in Boston. Last year, the dude lead the team in wins, gave us at least two cool meltdowns, and even threatened Bud Selig during a post-game interview. How f–king cool is that? The thing is, we need another year of that magic. I think any starting rotation that includes Wells is going to be a better rotation, and I’m calling on all young, hip, comely women in the Boston area to get your asses down to Florida and commence Operation Convince Boomer. Though medical science continues to write off the guy, I’m betting he throws together another 15 win season, powered by Budweiser and sheer animal magneticism. [And, of course, Boomer now claims he’s staying. Well done, ladies!]