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.
You don't need to be some sort of baseball insider to realize just how important Clay Buchholz is to the Red Sox. Not that we've had him for 7 or 8 years, but when Clay is pitching well, it gives the Sox 3 top-end starters. Something that most teams would kill to have.
This season, though, his importance may just be magnified. Josh Beckett is having a fairly average Josh Beckett year (which isn't a bad thing, he's just not as dominant as he was last season). While Jon Lester is having a fairly disappointing year. The Sox staff is ace-less right now. And in the AL East, when you're trying to climb into the playoff race, that's a scary position to be in. You want that one guy (preferably four or five of those guys, to be honest) that you just know will give you the chance to win every time they take the mound. His taking the ball breeds confidence in the rest of the club, and batters and pitchers alike can feed off of that. Lester has been that guy for the Sox for a long time. But not this season.
While we've gotten some good performances from pitchers, no one has had that impact. I think Clay is on the verge. It took him a while to get back into the swing of things after his back injury, and then he had that intestinal craziness to overcome, but he's been amazing over his last 7 starts. In 5 of those starts he's given up two or fewer runs, while pitching at least 7 innings. He had one poor outing in that span, giving up 5 runs to Miami -- although he earned the victory in that contest. The Sox have only lost 2 of those 7 games (both to Tampa - both of which Clay pitched well).
I think Clay Buchholz is silently taking the reigns of this rotation. And if he can continue to pitch like he has, that's just fine with me. Someone has to.
Rest of the links:
CSNNE - Valentine on Ross: 'What's there not to love?' | Globe - Buchholz was on target all night long | Ross HR allows Red Sox to walk off with victory | Herald - Futures bright for Salem teammates Matt Barnes, Xander Bogaerts | Cody Ross rescues Red Sox | WEEI - Dustin Pedroia gets right back into line of fire and ‘felt fine at the plate’ | No bull: Cody Ross and the lifelong quest to be a hero