Replace Buchholz with O’Sullivan Indefinitely

Whether you replace Clay Buchholz or release him, the guy has to go. His pitching is like a disastrous first date that you only hope gets better but only gets worse. With that pain though comes Sean O’Sullivan. He’s the best person to replace Buchholz on the rotation. O’Sullivan is not only a better pitcher, but he and catcher Sandy Leon already have a strong working relationship. That kind of connection is what the Red Sox need right now.

In 11 starts with AAA Pawtucket this season, O’Sullivan went 6-2 with an ERA of 2.79. HeReplace Buchholz even struck out a season high 10 batters against the Lehigh IronPigs. It was after that game that O’Sullivan said a few things that confirm he’s the best replacement.

O’Sullivan was asked how having Sandy Leon behind home plate has made him more confident. Leon had caught three out of his last four starts to date. “[Sandy] has not only caught three out of my last four starts this season but he caught almost every inning for me during spring training. We’ve built a great trust between us and have gotten on the same page.”

Since Sandy Leon is already up in Boston, it only make sense to keep O’Sullivan on the roster. Not only do you have O’Sullivan off to a good start, but he and Leon work well together. This is particularly important because the Red Sox have been making error after stupid error lately. These errors have cost them runs (and games). Additionally, Leon has a fantastic batting average so far. In 15 games and 40 at-bats as of July 4th, Leon has hit .500 with eight doubles and a home run. On Monday’s 12-5 victory over the Texas Rangers, Leon got four hits in five at-bats including three doubles and a run. That alone is impressive.

I’ve been saying for a while now that the Red Sox’s problem is that they’re not communicating. The infield doesn’t know each other as well as they should. If they think they do then they need to work on communicating a little more. Keeping O’Sullivan in the pitching rotation to replace Buchholz would not only be good for the pitching staff, but good for the team. O’Sullivan and Leon know each other well, and both are producing great numbers. On top of that, O’Sullivan is a work horse.

“I go as deep I can into games,” O’Sullivan told me after an April 24th game against Lehigh Valley where he struck out ten batters. “I go out there, be a horse and go as far as I can.”

This kind of effort is exactly what the Red Sox need right now. More importantly, it’s the best attitude to replace Buchholz.

Sox Need Pitching Help

Coming into the season, most pundits predicted that the Red Sox lineup would produce enough runs to keep the team in contention, which it has. Most analysts also expected that Boston’s pitching staff, specifically the starting rotation, would be a problem, and in that regard they were also correct. Many anticipated Dave Dombrowski dealing prospects to upgrade their pitching at the deadline, which he seems likely to do. Because the Red Sox need pitching help, and they need it now.

With Boston fading fast, Dombrowski can’t afford to wait another month before bolstering the staffSox Need Pitching Help. The Red Sox are 9-14 in June with a minus-12 run differential. They’ve gone from three games up on the AL East at the start of June to four games out of first in under four weeks. Boston’s offense has cooled considerably, but that’s less worrisome because lineups typically rise and fall over the course of the season. Barring serious injuries, that lineup will be fine.

The same can not be said, however, of Boston’s pitching staff. The rotation has been a mess, particularly at the back end. David Price has not been up to snuff. Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz have bombed. Rick Porcello has been hot and cold. John Farrell has exhausted all his options for the last two rotation spots with middling results.

With none of the young Red Sox starters proving ready to contribute, Dombrowski must seek pitching help outside the organization. Several big-names will likely be available, including Sonny Gray and Julio Teheran, but would require bundles of prospects to acquire. Boston must stabilize its rotation, however, and it’s worth trading a few kids now to avoid relying on Sean O’Sullivan and Henry Owens down the stretch.

The bullpen could also use reinforcements, as reliable options for high leverage situations are lacking. There’s Craig Kimbrel, obviously, and Junichi Tazawa, but that’s pretty much it. Carson Smith’s done for the year and Koji Uehara is finally showing his age. Boston needs another power arm to strengthen the bridge to Kimbrel. Relievers are always plentiful near the deadline, so acquiring one shouldn’t be too difficult.

So even though the trade deadline is still more than a month away, Boston shouldn’t wait. The Red Sox need pitching help now. If they wait, it might be too late.