“That was one of the most uncomfortable outings I’ve ever been a part of,” Buchholz said.
From the first-inning walks of Toronto Blue Jays leadoff hitter Yunel Escobar and slugger Jose Bautista to the sixth inning when he exited with 94 pitches, Buchholz never got into any rhythm, failed to consistently command the strike zone, and for a third consecutive outing, didn’t give the Red Sox the performance they have come to expect from him.
Plenty of blame to go around in this one. The offense provided a meek five hits, and Bobby Jenks did a strong Hideki Okajima impression.
But let's focus on the starting pitching.
Buchholz once again didn't look right, only lasting five innings and giving up just as many walks. Out of his 94 pitches, he only threw 46 strikes. I remember reading that he had asked John Lackey for advice last week, but last night looked like he had been talking to Daisuke too much.
This was Clay's third start of the year, and he once again failed to notch a quality start. In 12 games, the Sox only have three quality starts, tying them for last in the league with the New York Madoffs and Chicago Cubs. But with a 6.79 ERA, what else would you expect?
There's obviously talent on this pitching staff; if there wasn't, Theo wouldn't have locked up four of them for the next four years. Is this Curt Young's fault? Saltalamacchia's? Just a random occurrence of slumps grouped together?
It's hard to say for me, as I am only a fan watching the games on TV. But the decisionmakers of this 2-10 club better figure it out fast.
Related: CSNNE | Buchhling under pressure
On page 2, Crawford hears it from the fans.
“They have to boo, because I’m playing real bad and we’re playing real bad as a team,’’ Crawford said after the Sox dropped to 2-10 with a 7-6 loss to Toronto. “So you definitely understand it. You can’t be upset about that. You kind of feel their frustration a little bit. I mean, we’re frustrated, too.’’
No one seemed more frustrated than Crawford, who has yet to live up to the billing when he was signed to a seven-year, $142 million contract in December.
In six games as the Sox’ leadoff hitter, Crawford has gone 3 for 28 (.107) with 1 RBI, 3 runs, and 1 extra-base hit.
Asked if it might change his luck to move out of the leadoff spot, Crawford said, “I don’t know. With my luck right now, it’s been bad wherever.’’
Globe | Crawford's breaking bad
I've been on record as saying I like him in the leadoff spot, but if he's not comfortable with it (among the other things he's not comfortable with right now), Francona has to move him. This is different from the game 3 move down to the 7-hole, which I criticized. We've now seen two weeks of play, and Carl is not playing like he can and should.
The problem is, if we bump him down we don't really have a good replacement. Ellsbury? Hitting .195. How about last year's Ellsbury fill-in, Marco Scutaro? .188.
The best solution, if only for a game? Bring in the red-hot Jed Lowrie to play short and hit leadoff. Marco can use the rest at age 76 (he is 76, right? Or is it 77?). Lowrie's got a .526 OBP in 17 at bats this year -- let's take advantage of his patient eye and hot start and see if it spreads. I'm not particularly into lineup construction and setting a good example and all that, but anything is worth a shot at this point.
And the full links this fine Saturday morning:
Herald | Red Sox in Blue state with 2-10 mark | Red Sox show the money | Adrian Gonzalez signs extension | Adrian Gonzalez says he's games for form-fitting bat grip | Yankees get doubled up as Texas turns six DPs in victory | Globe | Red Sox sunk in seventh | Gonzalez extension done | Lineup balance will be tested | CSNNE | Command issues haunt Red Sox | ESPNBoston | Jenks: "I just flat-out stunk" | Tito on Salty's throws: "Little bit in and out"
[Photo credit: Herald file photo]