What will the Red Sox’ rotation look like?

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — John Lackey pitched seven innings and lost to the Royals Sunday, 4-3. And while most of the Red Sox starters have had their ups and downs, they’ve had good seasons collectively.

But from here on out, every time any one of those five starters pitches, he may be pitching to stay in the rotation. When Clay Buchholz finally returns — and that is a huge if — the Sox will have six pitchers for five spots — and perhaps even four spots because manager John Farrell indicated that given offdays later this month and in September, there may only be a need for four.

“I’m looking forward to having that problem,” pitching coach Juan Nieves said. “That means we have a lot of good pitchers.”

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