Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
So, fittingly, he cut his long hair.
But Buchholz made other changes, too. Before Wednesday night’s game in Kansas City, the right-hander spent more than an hour in the bullpen with pitching coach Bob McClure, trying to identify and solve the problems that had caused his ERA to balloon to 9.09.
Yet there he was, six batters into last night’s game, on the verge of unraveling again.
Having already scored one run, the Cleveland Indians loaded the bases with two out. Rather than sending McClure to the mound, manager Bobby Valentine took it upon himself.
His message: “That he’s a very good pitcher,” Valentine said, “and I didn’t want him to let that game get away from him because of anything other than him being as good as he could possibly be — and probably some words that I won’t use.”
Funny to think that Clay Buchholz is putting together a worse season than John Lackey did last year, yet the pitcher whose head fans want on a platter is Josh Beckett. Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, attitude trumps performance.
Clay got himself into trouble, and then got himself out of trouble in multiple innings last night. Once he got through the third, he strung together a few solid innings before the wheels came off in the 7th. At the beginning of the 7th, with the Sox up 7-1 and Clay in control, it looked like we may actually only have to use maybe two pitchers from the pen. That obviously didn't happen, as Clay loaded the bases and Hill and Miller let in some runs (and the Sox ended up using 5 relief pitchers over the final 3 innings). But, despite all that, this was a huge step in the right direction for Clay.
Lester has been so-so this year. Although, if you take away the awful back-to-back disasters against Texas and Minnesota, he's actually been solid. Beckett has been a nightmare. But that was expected with the even-year-curse. For this Sox squad to be contenders, we need the 2010 Clay Buchholz. Need him. And thus far, as is pointed out above, Buchholz hasn't just been bad, he's been worse-than-Lackey bad. Historically bad.
I don't have much faith in this team, this season. There are a lot of holes and under-performing parts. But if Clay can get on track, that's one less hurdle this team needs to clear to get back in the race. But he's going to have to do more than beat an OK Indians team at home. Let's hope he can.
Rest of the links:
Herald - Another voice on Beckett | Globe -Ortiz unhurt after a minor car accident | Positive reaction | ESPN -Jon Lester launches campaign against cancer | Daniel Nava sparks Sox with defense, hustle | WEEI - Caught in between: Bobby Valentine's rotation management | Ortiz leaves game with sore left heel