For most of July, as well as some of August, the Red Sox seemed to be unable to play a complete game. When they got good starting pitching, they wouldn’t hit and they’d lose 2-1.
When they would hit, the starter couldn’t hold the lead, and they would lose 11-10. To mix things up, they would occasionally throw in a game where the hitting and pitching would be good enough to win, but the defense wasn’t and they would literally throw the game away.
It was not a very enjoyable thing to watch. But recently they have turned things around behind some solid starting pitching, and surprisingly, at the heart of it as been none other then Clay Buchholz.
The 32 year Buchholz, he of the unlimited potential, seems like he’s been approaching his career with an, “If I don’t pitch, I can’t get hurt” mentality, especially after he got off to a blazing start back in the Spring of 2013. If you’ll remember, he went 12-1, with a 1.74 ERA before the All-Star game in 16 appearances, before coming down with a sore neck, and only making 4 second half appearances. Over the next three years or so, he’s had the occasional strong stretch, but then it seems his concentration or confidence would waver, and he’d be back on the bench.
Recently, he’s apparently figured out that his arm was in the wrong slot, and now that it’s back in the correct one, he’s his old (young?) self again. Who am I to argue? In August he’s had an ERA of 2.37, with a WHiP of 1.05. In his Tuesday night outing against the Rays, he went 6.1 innings, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits, 2 BB, and 9 SO.
Somehow a combination of Robbie Ross, Brad Ziegler, and Craig Kimbrel managed to hold the lead, and he now stands at 5-9, with a 5.18 ERA. I probably should be more respectful of that trio, as they are probably the most dependable of the Boston relievers of late. Earlier workhorses such as Matt Barnes and Junichi Tazawa have ERAs in their last 7 appearances of 16.80 and 22.50 respectively, Koji Uehara won’t be back for a couple more weeks and lefty newcomer Fernando Abad has taken some time to adjust to his new surroundings. So, if you are wondering why Buchholz is likely headed back to the bullpen, that should do it.
The Sox, who are tied for the lead in the AL East, are currently in the middle of a 7-2 road trip that has featured strong starting pitching. Rick Porcello currently stands at 17-3 with an ERA of 3.22. David Price has gone 2-0 on the trip with an ERA of 0.64. Drew Pomeranz has finally adjusted to his new team, and has a win and a ERA of 1.80 of late. If you combine that with the returns of Steven Wright (13-5, 3.01) and the rejuvenated Eduardo Rodriguez to the rotation, and you can understand why the Sox are best served by having Buchholz return to the bullpen. Together with an offense that still leads the MLB in average (.284) and runs (685) despite some slumping of key players, you can understand why there is a fair amount of optimism in Red Sox Nation as we make the turn and start heading towards September.
ACTS OF EXTREME RANDOMNESS:
ACT ONE: If Tim Tebow wanted a career as a professional athlete, he should have listened to those who tried to convince him to try a different position other than QB. You have to believe that 29 is a bit late to be launching a baseball career.
ACT TWO: The New York media and fans seems to be falling in love with some of the young Yankees prospects who have gotten a chance to play of late. My warning to you is to hold onto your hearts until they’ve had to play in the heat of a pennant race.
ACT THREE: As great a fielding gem as Andrew Benintendi‘s robbing of Steven Souza of a home run was, I think I enjoyed Mookie Betts throwing out Kevin Kiermaier at third base even more. It’s great to see an outfielder who can actually throw.
- The “Roger That” Edition - February 28, 2017
- The “Nice Ring To It” Edition - February 3, 2017
- The “Shaken, Not Stirred” Edition - January 17, 2017
- The “Malcolms in the Middle” Edition - January 11, 2017
- A “Catching Up, Following Up, and Weighing In” Edition - December 31, 2016
- The “Cannon and Flowers” Edition - December 21, 2016
- The “Farm, for Sale” Edition - December 10, 2016
- The “Tebucky Jones Tribute” Edition - November 13, 2016
- The “World, Serious” Edition - November 1, 2016
- The “Easy Come, Easy Go” Edition - October 18, 2016