Clay Buchholz, Will Middlebrooks, and Shane Victorino are all set to start rehab assignments this weekend, which in theory should help the struggling Red Sox. Buchholz was shelved with a knee issue, Middlebrooks with a broken finger, and Victorino with a strained hamstring.
Buchholz may have been dealing with a couple physical ailments, but his trip to the DL may have helped his mind more than anything. After going on what may have been his worst stretch of his career, he needed a break one way or another. There is a chance we could see the lights-out Buchholz, but there’s probably a better chance we see something in between that and what we saw earlier this year. I am not quite sure he will ever pitch like he did at the beginning of last year again, but I assume he will be better than the worst starting pitcher in the big leagues, which is what he was when he was put on the DL. And that isn’t an exaggeration either! Out of every full time starter in the bigs, he had the worst ERA and WHIP.
From the offensive side, Victorino and Middlebrooks will slowly make their way back to the team over the next week or so. Middlebrooks may not even have a spot on the team, but the Sox desperately need Victorino’s bat back in the outfield. While he was only hitting .242, that would still peg him atop the Sox outfield as far as average goes (Brock Holt not included). His lingering hamstring problems are concerning though, leaving fans wondering just how long he will be able to stay healthy.
Middlebrooks might have one last chance to make an impact on the Sox after his rehab stint. The Red Sox desperately need some pop in the lower part of the lineup and Middlebrooks has the ability to provide it. With Stephen Drew already battling some injuries of his own, Middlebrooks could get some chances in this mess of a lineup. Not to mention, Stephen Drew can’t exactly hit lefties and Jonathan Herrera doesn’t add anything to the bottom of the order other than a sac bunt or two. If Middlebrooks continues to chase breaking balls down and away though, consider him gone by the trade deadline.
Hopefully the addition of three major league players can help the Red Sox become a bit more consistent. If the offense can put up more than one run per series, which they did in Baltimore, maybe they can string together some wins. They saw what can happen if they get timely hitting during their seven game winning streak, so with Napoli back and more help coming, hopefully a few more winning streaks go in Boston’s favor