Manager Terry Francona announced the rest of the Red Sox's starting rotation Thursday morning after naming Jon Lester the Opening Day starter on Wednesday.
John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka will be Nos. 2 through 5 at the outset, Francona said, for at least two turns of the regular season.
That news did not come as a surprise to any of them. Francona said he has known for some time that this is how he wanted to line them up, but he did not go public with it in the event someone got hurt.
Even with an off-day April 4 in Cleveland, Francona said he will not alter the order, which puts Lackey in line to pitch the home opener April 8 against the New York Yankees.
"Lackey has a way of matching up against whoever he's pitching against," Francona said, "whether it's a No. 1 or No. 5, you look up in the seventh inning [and] you have a chance to win, which we really like.
"Buck did so good. I think we feel having Buck come out third just enhances our chance to win a little bit. Buck's numbers would say he could pitch anywhere. I just think Lack's a veteran, he's done it, spacing [Buchholz] and Lester out, there's something to be said for that, too.
"Lack showed up in great shape and looks ready to go. Ultimately, if they pitch like they should it's not going to matter, and if they don't pitch like they should, it's not going to matter."
Francona said the start Beckett missed after sustaining a concussion when he was struck by a ball in batting practice did not factor into his being slotted fourth after pitching the opener the past two seasons.
"I just think just watching the way last year unfolded we want to get him off to a good start," Francona said. "We'll pitch him in that game in Cleveland. I think that's a good place for him to start."
Beckett said he'll accept his spot in the rotation.
"It is what it is," Beckett said. "I don't get paid to make those decisions. Tito makes those decisions. I don't want that job. I never want that job. I'll let him make those decisions and I'll go out and do the best I can to put us in the best position to win."