Clemens or Beckett?

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Clemens or Beckett?

Its an age-old baseball debate, right up there with Does Pete Rose belong in the Hall of Fame? Would Moises Alou have caught the ball? and "Was Izzy Alcantara actually The Messiah?"

Its simply: Who should start Game 7?

Of course, its different for every team, and in some cities, the answers obvious: Seattle (King Felix). Detroit (Justin Verlander). Anaheim (Jered Weaver). Yankees (Steve Nebraska). But for the last few years, its been a difficult question here in Boston.

On one hand, there was Josh Beckett, who wed seen do it before, and believed would do it again. Then there was Jon Lester, the more reliable pitcher, and probably the safer choice. Beckett was like ordering the sushi special at a random dive in China Town it could be the best thing you ever tasted . . . or leave you hunched over a toilet bowl. On the other hand, Lester was a solid noodle dish. Chicken lo mein, with a side of fried rice. There was a lower ceiling but you couldnt go wrong.

Anyway, these days that conversation is meaningless. First of all, because its been nearly four years since the Sox were in a position to even take part in a Game 7. Second of all, because for the better part of this season, Beckett and Lester were barely worthy of a playoff roster spot, never mind a start. In fact, if you had to pick a guy to pitch a fictional Game 7 in 2012, it would be Clay Buchholz. And even then, you'd like to see Buchholz maintain this dominance for another month or so before falling under his spell again.

So heres a better question:

Who would you rather start a potential Game 7 for the Sox: Beckett or 50-year-old Roger Clemens?

I don't mean now, because that would obviously be unfair. I think we have to give Clemens at least a few starts with the Sugar Land Skeeters to loosenbuild up his arm and catch up to Beckett's conditioning. Also, does anyone know how long it takes steroids to kick in? I mean, who knows, by the time October roles around, Clemens could be more charged than the Ultimate Warrior.

Honestly, think about, who would you rather have on the mound in a must-win situation: A slovenly, apathetic 32-year-old Beckett or a 50-year-old Rocket with everything to prove and enough 'roids in him to kill a rhinoceros?

It's something to think about. After all, these kinds of questions are why God invented off-days. Well, for that and golfing.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Merloni: Pablo Sandoval is the key to the bottom of Red Sox order

Merloni: Pablo Sandoval is the key to the bottom of Red Sox order

The guys on The Baseball Show discuss Pablo Sandoval lighting it up in spring training and if he could continue that in the regular season.

Sale hurls five shutout innings, Sandoval has two hits as Sox romp, 7-2

Sale hurls five shutout innings, Sandoval has two hits as Sox romp, 7-2

Chris Sale threw five shutout innings and Pablo Sandoval continued his torrid spring with two more hits as the Red Sox routed the Twins, 7-2, Sunday at the Twins' Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Twins box score

Sale allowed six hits, with one walk and six strikeouts, in his 91-pitch outing. Manager John Farrell had told reporters before the game that Sale was scheduled to throw between 95 and 100 pitches. He has 26 strikeouts and 2 walks in 21 spring-training innings.

Sandoval lifted his exhibition average to .370 with a 2-for-3 performance, which included a double.

The Red Sox also got home runs from Christian Vazquez, Andrew Benintendi and Steve Selsky as they rallied from a 1-0 deficit with three runs in the seventh inning and four in the eighth.