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.
Buchholz wasn’t around for most of September 2011, a stress fracture in his back rendering the starter a spectator during one of the all-time late-season collapses. Then, last season, the 28-year-old logged a career-high 1891⁄3 innings and notched a 3.62 ERA after May 6 and a 4.56 ERA overall.
It wasn’t good enough. Not by a longshot.
“I always say it starts with the guys on the mound, and I definitely think that it wasn’t the year any of us wanted to have,” Buchholz told the Herald yesterday after joining Lester, John Lackey and nearly two dozen other pitchers in a voluntary workout on the practice fields behind JetBlue Park. “There were a lot of things that went on last year, but as a staff, yeah, things definitely could’ve gone a lot better.”
Last spring, Buchholz insisted he was healthy, and from a physical standpoint, that was true. Looking back, though, he said he pitched “scared” during the season’s first six weeks, fearing that his back may flare up if he wasn’t overly cautious.
Herald - Buchholz up front
One of the storylines I'm most excited about this Spring is seeing how Clay builds upon his stellar 2012 campaign. Last season's rotation was a mess, and for a long period of time, Clay was the only guy we could put on the mound that bred any type of confidence in winning a game. The season was barely half over when we declared him the new 'Ace' of the Boston Red Sox.
Among the many potentially awesome side effects of having Clay push himself to be the Ace of the rotation is the motivation it gives Lester. Lester is typically a very good pitcher. Not last year. He wasn't even good last year, never mind very good. He's a talented, prideful man. I don't think he needs any outside forces pushing him to have a better 2013. But having Clay stealing much of the pitching thunder isn't going to hurt.
That doesn't mean we should expect fantastic things from the Sox rotation this season. Once you get back Clay and Lester (assuming they have good years) you're left banking on Dempster being able to pitch in the AL East (debatable), Doubront taking a step forward (entirely possible) and Lackey morphing into the anti-Lackey (laughable). Those things are entirely possible, but for the Sox to have any Playoff hopes, let alone World Series dreams, those three things all need to come together. Oh, plus everybody must stay healthy all season long.
The odds are certainly stacked against them, but crazier things have happened in baseball.
On Page 2, Schilling can crawl back to wherever he popped out of now.