Clay Buchholz Disabled List Day

Clay Buccholz Disabled List Day—an annual tradition in which we see Buccholz show signs of why many could consider him a top of the rotation guy. But then, out of nowhere…BAM! Off to another stint on the disabled list. Let’s take a walk down memory Disabled List Boundlane shall we?

2008: 15-day DL: Right fingernail tear (blister); Games missed: 16

2010: 15-day DL: Left hamstring strain; Games missed: 18

2011: 60-day DL: Low back stress fracture; Games missed: 93

2012: 15-day DL: Esophagitis (apparently he doesn’t take his Pepcid AC); Games missed: 20

2013: 60-day DL: Right shoulder bursitis (neck strain); Games missed: 82

2014: 15-day DL: Left knee hyper-extension; Games missed: 28

2015: 15-day DL: Strained flexor muscle in his right elbow; Games missed: Remainder of the season

Cy Young Candidate…off to the disabled list.

It was only 3 years ago when in 2013, Potential Cy Young Award leader Buchholz was 9-0 on the season with a league leading 1.71 ERA. Amazing right? But, wait, spoiler alert! He ended up on the DL retroactive to June 9th.

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but if you have a pitcher who’s consistently injured on a what seems to be year round basis, why the hell is he still with this team? For starters, his contract. Buchholz had a $13 million dollar club option for 2016 that Dave Dombrowski chose to renew. For a pitcher (when healthy) who has shown the ability to not only win, but pitch effectively, the upside is worth the $13 million dollar contract.

Personally, I love Buchholz. I love him so much that for some odd reason I hold out hope that he will some day become the Ace of the Red Sox. I hold out hope that he will win the coveted Cy Young Award. Hell, I even hold out hope that he’ll throw another no-hitter like he did in 2007. But, then I come back down to reality and realize none of those things are never, ever, ever going to happen.

I’m sure many of those in Red Sox Nation would agree with me that the Clay Buchholz who we thought was going to be a superstar in Boston is long gone and that we are now left to watch a kid who had so much talent literally wilt away a few weeks into the season. Clay’s going to go out onto that mound every 5th day and compete, maybe throw 6,7 even 8 quality innings and get a few wins under his belt. But, Clay is also going to somehow end up with a pulled shoulder, a blister, or another bout of heartburn and end up on the good ol’ DL train. And this time around I don’t foresee that train ever coming back into Fenway Park station after the 2016 season.

So Clay, here’s to you! I hope nothing but the best for you this year, but I also hope this is the last year I have to see you in a Red Sox uniform.

Red Sox Season On The Brink Of Extinction

After a terrible first half of the Major League season, the Boston Red Sox have not started their second half the way they wanted.  The Sox were swept this past weekend by the Los Angeles Angels, including dropping both games of a double-header.  And now, Sox fans are starting to realize that this season may already be over.

The Sox went into the All-Star break with a little bit of momentum.  Though they hadRed Sox dropped two of three games against the hated New York Yankees directly before the break, they were still playing probably their best baseball of the season.  Before the series against the Yankees, they had won nine of 13 games, and were actually starting to make a small push toward the Wild Card, but now those dreams have quickly been wiped away.

As of yesterday afternoon, the Sox were nine games out of first place in the American League East, and 8.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, heading into a series against the Houston Astros.  The team does not seem to be playing with any sense of urgency, and that is really the only way that a team in their position will have a chance of saving their season.

Throughout the season, there have been few things that have been seen as positive for the team.  Eduardo Rodriguez was showing some signs of being a future ace for the team.  But after having a great couple starts to begin his career, his results have fallen a large amount.  In his most recent start, he gave up six hits and seven earned runs in only 1.2 innings pitched against the Angels.

Even the bigger names on the team have not been delivering.  David Ortiz has only a .236 batting average, and a .327 on base percentage, both are well below his career averages.  And Clay Buchholz has not pitched well all season, and is now on the DL with a right flexor strain.

So far, the only good thing that can be taken out of this season is the play of Brock Holt.  Holt earned his first All-Star selection, and has been solid all season long.  He also is the only player in the league that has hit for the cycle this season.

For all of us Red Sox fans, I think it is finally time to face the reality that our team just isn’t that good this season.  There have been times that they have showed some promise, but just like Sox teams of the past, that is just their way of playing with our heads.  So if for some reason the Sox start playing a bit better over a week or two period, I would say to not get your hopes up, because their play will probably start going back down at some point soon.

Ben Cherington Won’t Start Fire Sale Yet

The Red Sox chances of turning things around this season are slim to none, but Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington is still looking to add a few major league pieces before the trade deadline according to NESN.

“I think the more general statement is that we’re going to work to get to a good team, get to the team that we believe we are actually closer to than many believe, as quickly as we can,” Cherington said. “So I foresee a scenario where we would even be interested in acquiring major league players, adding to the major league team.
It makes sense in a way, and if the Red Sox can get a few good pieces without Ben Cheringtonmortgaging their future, then I’d be for it, but it’s easier said than done. If Cherington wants to add major league pieces, he’ll have to be careful. A deal for a Cole Hamels, for example, could be potentially damaging to our future if it doesn’t work out.
If Cherington wants to go that route, then he should look at trading a veteran player or 2 for these major league pieces. Clay Buchholz is a guy that comes to mind, as he seems to have come around an is currently pitching great and could fetch a good price in return, should the Sox decide to trade him. Another guy could be Mike Napoli, but that would be much harder, given the way Mike has been struggling this year.  If you want to add major league-ready pieces, then dealing Mike Napoli wouldn’t be the way to go. Cherington would be better off dealing Clay Buchholz, as he would probably fetch more in return at the moment.
As bad as this season has been, I don’t believe a fire sale is the answer. Ben tried that last year, and that didn’t get us very far. The fire sale of 2012 only paid off for 2013, which was obviously a great year, but it didn’t carry over beyond that one season. I don’t think it’s in the Red Sox best interests to go through that again. We’ll see, though. Unfortunately it’s not up to me.

Red Sox Starters Among League Worst

Red Sox Starters

It is hard to find a silver lining after an 18-7 loss in Baltimore on Sunday, but if there was one it was the Red Sox were heading back to the friendly confines of home, in Fenway Park on Monday to start a series with the Blue Jays. The weekend series in Baltimore saw the Sox pitching staff hit new lows in terms of innings and the bullpen added to the misery.

The Sox seemingly have no starter on the staff right now who you could consider a “stopper” , or a pitcher who you know will stop a losing skid. Sox fans have to wonder—Red Sox Starterswho and when will a pitcher step up, or even be called up? Rick Porcello has been the best in my opinion as he has given the bullpen the most help, going deep into games, but also has a dub thrown in there as well. Joe Kelly has flashed that he could be lights out, but his meltdown in Tampa Bay where he walked in a run with the bases loaded showed he is still a work in progress.

Clay Buccholz everyone knows about, and has known about for the past seven years. He is capable of being great, but he needs everything to go right if he is going to be that guy. Justin Masterson is back for his second stint with the team and his role is the eat innings. He has yet to receive a loss on the year, but has left games where the offense has picked him up after giving up leads.

Wade Miley deserves his own category. In four starts, he has yet to finish six innings and in two starts he did not get out of the third. Very taxing on the bullpen and the offense when your starter can’t get out of his own way. Miley, acquired this off-season, will likely have a long leash before he is removed from the rotation. Fans soon may cringe when they see Miley listed as the starter that night.

Red Sox fans wanted an ace this off-season and as Spring Training ended without one, the question remained—who will step up in the rotation? So far you can say no starter has stepped up, yet John Farrell and Ben Cherington say it is too early to panic about the rotation. With your starters ERA being 30th in the league with 30 teams, one has to wonder how long before management starts to panic.

When and if panic sets in what happens? Brian Johnson was just named International League Pitcher of the Week for the PawSox in AAA, and he seems deserving of the first man to get the call if an injury or a starters turn is skipped. Matt Barnes pitched out of the bullpen this weekend and was sent down after going two innings on Saturday. The plan with Barnes on if he will remain a starter in the minor leagues or not is unknown.

Of course Cole Hamels does remain a Philadelphia Phillie and likely will until Ruben Amaro is satisfied with an offer for his ace. Betts and Swihart remain off the table, but the Red Sox may feel obliged to get creative with an offer if the rotation continues to struggle.

Red Sox starters have yet to string together a series of starts where you feel confident in them. How long will it be before John Farrell and Ben Cherington are forced to make a move?

Red Sox Fans Watched Jon Lester Struggle Sunday Night

Jon Lester

As Red Sox fans woke up on Easter Sunday morning, they had to be excited that Spring Training games were finally over and their hometown team was opening the season on Monday afternoon in Philadelphia. Before Clay Buccholz and Sox took on Cole Hamels and the Phillies, the season opening game, on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball featured a match-up between NL Central rivals. Jon Lester took the mound for the first time with the Cubs against the Cardinals in prime time.

First off, the choice of teams was a bit of a head scratcher. The Cardinals have been one of the best teams this century, but the Cubs? Jon LesterThe Cubs have been in the basement since Steve Bartman. Why doesn’t Major League Baseball start off the season like the NFL. Have their champion open the season against a rival or a team they beat on their way to a championship? The Patriots will open the NFL season, so the Giants should have opened the MLB season.

As baseball fans tuned into Sunday’s game, some Red Sox fans may still have a sour taste in their mouth. Lester won two World Series’ with the Sox, and many fans felt as if they were teased into thinking he was coming back after a trade deadline deal with Oakland. I felt the trade to Oakland only meant that it would be easier for him not to return, after experiencing another clubhouse, and thinking, “maybe I could play somewhere else.” Lester went on to sign a six year, $155 million deal with the Cubs. The Red Sox came in with an offer substantially lower, so he walked to Theo Epstein and the Cubs, which many felt made the sour taste in their mouth that much more bitter.

The start for Lester did not go as planned. He did not get out of the fifth inning— tossing 4 1/3, allowing 8 hits and 3 runs. The Cubs continue to be the Cubs right? Obviously the Cubs have more talent than they have had in the past decade, so Lester will have better outings this season. With the report of Lester having “dead arm” this spring, one has to think the Cubs will keep an eye on Lester’s pitch count until he is comfortable, but some Cubs fans are holding their breath already while Red Sox fans should be more open-minded about not bringing Lester back.

Many fans have still not let the signing of Lester go, saying the Red Sox need an ace. Ben Cherington will find a top of the rotation starter this season. The Red Sox decided not to pay a pitcher in his 30’s premium money, a move I support. The Yankees are going through a tough time with C.C. Sabathia, as are the Phillies with Cliff Lee. Jon Lester will have some great years in the Chicago but he will also likely not be worth the money in the long run.