Alex Cora keeps dropping hints that the Red Sox rotation is about to undergo changes. He suggests that five off days between now and Sept. 2 -- plus a continuation vs. the Royals that will start in the 10th inning -- could generate opportunities to be creative.

I'm all for creativity, but you can't swipe festering fish heads from the cat and turn them into a sublime bouillabaisse. Garbage in, garbage out.

Cora would seem to have the same problem with his rotation. How many ways can a manager rearrange the players most responsible for the Red Sox falling out of playoff contention without yielding the exact same results?

I seriously have zero idea what Cora is even getting at. Right now his two most reliable starters aren't even that reliable, but at least Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez give him a chance.

The former is having a solid year if you judge pitchers on hypotheticals like FIP, but a trash year if you're more inclined to favor results, which include a 6-11 record and 4.41 ERA. The latter is 13-5 with a 4.17 ERA and has probably been the team's most consistent pitcher all season.

After that, there's not a lot to work with. Left-hander David Price is on the IL with a wrist cyst that required a cortisone injected. His return remains a mystery. Cora won't commit to replacement Brian Johnson starting Wednesday on regular rest.