Don’t do it. Don’t fall for it. He’s a friggin’ hypnotist, and I can’t believe that some of you are falling for it AGAIN.
Yes, Clay Buchholz pitched really, really well last night. Seven innings, three hits, two earned runs and six strikeouts. All the credit in the world to him (and Christian Vazquez) that he had that kind of performance against the team with the most wins in the American League, and surely he was under some pressure after his manager called him out last week. But the night before his start against the White Sox, this is exactly what I said would happen, and why they couldn’t DFA him the same time that the White Sox DFA’d John Danks. It’s because, out of nowhere, he can do shit like this.
The fact of the matter is that Buchholz can go on a run, regardless of how poorly he had pitched prior to that. The guy can just flip a switch and go from John Wasdin to John Smoltz in the matter of one turn through the rotation. It’s like reliving the same nightmare every single year, only this time we have a scouting report to avoid dying at the end of the dream. Buchholz starts off shitty, then woah! He turned a corner here! Great! He goes on a little bit of a run, then what happens? You know what happens — say it. He gets hurt, misses a significant amount of time, and he’s not around to make any starts when the team needs him the most.
Listen, I would never say that Buchholz isn’t talented. He is INCREDIBLY talented. But “dependable” is never a word that I would use to describe him. Like I said on Comcast, you do not DFA this guy. You wait it out for him to go on his run, which he always does at one point or another, only this time, unlike last year, you trade him when his value spikes. That was the fatal flaw of the 2015 team. They believed that Buchholz’s success was sustainable over a full season. They let him take the ball in the most important game of the year, he got hurt, and never pitched another game the rest of the season. If the 2016 Red Sox make the postseason, I guarantee you that Buchholz would not factor into that playoff run if he were still employed by the team.
Learn from what happened last year. Learn from what happened the last eight years before that. This is what he does. Let him get hot, hope he doesn’t get hurt, and you deal him to a team that’s dumb enough to think that he can help them the rest of the way. That’s what you do.
They hung onto him last year, presumably because he was the best starting pitcher they had, and, up until he got injured, the Red Sox still had a shot at winning the division. This year, he’s not protected by that scenario. He’s actually the worst starter that they have. And not only can they win without him, they were 9 games over .500 in games that he didn’t pitch going into Wednesday night’s game. Please don’t fall for this again, Red Sox.
David Ortiz crushed his sixth home run to give the Red Sox the lead in the top of the fifth inning, and added another RBI later in the game to give him 22 on the year, which trails only Robinson Cano (26) for the most in the American League. Ortiz’s 1.037 OPS ranks third in the American League, as does his .633 slugging percentage. There’s no way he’s retiring. I’m slowly, but surely starting to convince myself that there’s no way he can have a season like this and then ride off into the sunset. Can’t happen.
Gotta show some love to Xander Bogaerts — his second three-hit game in his last three games. Over his last 13 games, Bogaerts is hitting .442 with a 1.082 OPS with 6 doubles and 7 multi-hit games.
Also, I noticed that I haven’t heard from the people who were freaking out about Craig Kimbrel in a while. Probably because he throws 99 MPH, has one of the nastiest sliders in the game, and just needed to settle in a little bit. Since his first blown save of the season, Kimbrel hasn’t allowed a run. He’s faced 12 batters, allowed zero hits, and struck out 6 of them. But here’s the most important stat out of all of that — one walk. That was the biggest concern when Kimbrel was struggling to start the year. His location wasn’t sharp, and he was either walking guys, or leaving balls out over the plate that power hitters were going to tee up once they got their timing down. Kimbrel faced the minimum on Wednesday night to earn his ninth save of the season, moving him into a three-way tie for the most saves in the American League, and just one save shy of the most in the MLB.
Final score: Red Sox 5, White Sox 2