They can move the pieces around -- Nathan Eovaldi from the rotation to the bullpen; a revolving door of candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation -- and make all the deadline acquisitions they want, but as the All-Star break draws closer, one thing is abundantly clear for the Red Sox: unless and until Chris Sale snaps out of it, the rest of it won't matter.
No reliever obtained from outside will mean more. No role change will be as significant.
They need Sale to be Sale, or any dreams of a second-half revival and redemption in October will be made moot.
The rest, by comparison, is mere window dressing.
This Red Sox team was built around the starting rotation, remember? The Sox seemed intent on bucking the industry trend by going decidedly old school and relying on their core of veteran starters to routinely A) chew up innings and B) give them a chance to win on a nightly basis.