Tony Massarotti runs down five possible scenarios for the call-up of future Hall-of-Famer John Smoltz to the Red Sox active roster. None of them is perfect, and the one that makes the most baseball sense (demoting Matsuzaka) would be hard to get past Dice-K himself. Mazz considers a six-man rotation, or a bullpen role for Smoltz, but frowns on both.
But how about a different approach altogether: make Matsuzaka and Smoltz "co-starters". Or to phrase the idea better, give Smoltz the role of "finisher" for Matsuzaka. Dice-K hasn't been getting past the 5th inning. Smoltz is 42 and coming off shoulder surgery: neither one is going to be throwing a lot of complete games. The argument against sending Smoltz to the bullpen is that he'd lack the every-five-games routine of a starter and the slow prep toward each start. But as Matsuzaka's "finisher", he could have that routine. Every five days he'd prepare, knowing he'd be brought in sometime during the game - the 2nd inning would be a good time in most Dice-K starts this year, but the 5th or 6th is what the Sox would hope for.
So Dice-K starts the game. He nibbles and throws 95 pitches through 4 innings, and Tito lifts him before the heart of the opponent's order gets their third look at him. Then Smoltz comes on and throws his 70 or 80 pitches and finishes the game or hands it over to the true bullpen in the 8th or 9th.
Now the bullpen won't be heavily taxed every five games to clean up Dice-K's mess, and both pitchers will be kept active, healthy, and fresh in case an injury occurs somewhere in the rotation, at which point the Sox can go back to a conventional rotation... or call up Clay Buchholz.