At this point, it may be their only hope.
Since the middle of May, Buchholz has been the Sox’ best pitcher, to say nothing of one of the elite starters in the American League. And over the past month, as Beckett and Lester have continued to falter, Buchholz has been nearly unhittable.
It was more of the same last night. Seeking to snap a three-game losing skid, the Red Sox gave the ball to Buchholz and the rail-thin right-hander spun a 104-pitch, complete-game gem in a 3-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians on a chilly, wet night at Progressive Field.
“That was just what the doctor ordered,” manager Bobby Valentine said.
“He was terrific.”
Herald - Clay Buchholz plays ace
This is two mornings in a row where we can discuss something positive about this Red Sox club! That's certainly worth celebrating.
I gave Clay some praise in my recap last night, so I don't want to repeat myself too much.... but he's firmly entrenched himself as the Red Sox ace. Not only is he the only Sox starter that we can depend on, he's pitching really really really well.
He's allowed just 5 earned runs in his last 5 starts. In those 5 games, he's gone 7 innings twice, 8 innings twice, and last night he pitched the whole game. Quite a turnaround from what he was delivering early this season. He's clearly put all those back problems in his rearview mirror.
As a 'thank you' for being the only guy on the staff to give a damn this season, I think the Sox should hand Clay the ball to kick off the 2013 season. Make this ace thing official.
On page 2, we have to give Salty a little lesson on Lackey.
So why the disconnect?
With Lackey in the news again over questions about his presence with the team, as well as a report yesterday calling attention to the fact he was drinking beer in the clubhouse after Thursday’s loss, a number of his teammates were asked what makes him so popular.
After all, the public characterization of him as a surly clubhouse cancer could not be more at odds with how he is actually viewed within the walls.
“He’s such a good guy,” catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. “I hate that he’s getting written off like this.”
That Lackey is popular among teammates is irrefutable. That he’s unpopular with the media, and hence, fans, is equally so.
“The reason nobody has anything good to say about him is the media writes nothing but bad (expletive) about him for some reason,” Saltalamacchia said. “Nobody understands why. He’s a great teammate because he cares about every person in this clubhouse, he does the right things, he’s not a prima donna who thinks he’s better than the game.”
Herald - Ask the Sox, John Lackey’s their guy
Mr. Saltalamacchia, if you'll humor me for a minute, I can tell you exactly why Sox fans despise John Lackey. And I can assure you it has very little to do with the media.
It's quite simple, really. First off, his paycheck. There's plenty of guys being overpaid in the majors; players that aren't living up to their contracts. And then there's John Lackey. The guy is getting paid $15,000,000+ a year. If he pitched OK, we'd grumble about it, sure. But, that brings me to my second point.
He doesn't pitch OK. He pitches at historically bad levels. And earns over $15,000,000 a year doing it. Last September, when the Sox had that collapse? Maybe you remember it? You know what Lackey's ERA was in his 5 starts that month? 9.13. The cherry on top of one of the worst seasons ever pitched in baseball history.
And finally, the main reason Sox fans hate Lackey is his terrible attitude. Showing up fielders that misplay balls. Showing up managers that come out to the mound. Telling fans, after every terrible start, how well he pitched. That the fact opposing batters tagged him for 10 hits and 7 runs was not his fault, because he was making all his pitches. Just once we'd like Lackey to take some responsibility for himself, and his teammates. That's what leaders do. But you'll never hear John doing that.
If I can summarize the Lackey era for you in one image, it would be a fat guy with an overstuffed wallet jutting out of his back pocket twirling on the mound with his index finger pointed outwards shouting "It's you're fault!" over and over again.
This. This is why we hate John Lackey. He may be there for you in the clubhouse, but he's not there for us on the mound.
Rest of the links:
Herald - Costly win for Will | Globe - Report: John Lackey 'double-fisting' beer in Red Sox clubhouse after loss | Buchholz bolsters Red Sox | For Clay Buchholz, more brilliance | WEEI - A reminder why Clay Buchholz might be the Red Sox most important player | CSNNE - Buckley: Why is Lackey still in clubhouse? | Buchholz' two-hitter lifts Sox over Indians, 3-2