Last night, Clay Buchholz gave up a two-run home run. And then he did it again. And then he did it again.
Clay, this is the end of the road for you. This team is too damn good to be giving you the ball every fifth day. And you know it, too. During every postgame media scrum, you’re talking about how much you suck, and how everyone else has been great. Well, that needs to stop. It’s not that everybody needs to be great, no. But if the Red Sox are going to be taken seriously as a contender this year, you can no longer be part of the equation.
Let’s think of it this way. The Red Sox are 3-7 when Clay Buchholz takes the mound for Boston. In the games that Buchholz hasn’t pitched in, they have a record of 26-11. They have a .703 winning percentage when he’s not on the mound. Think about that for a second. Remove Buchholz from the equation, and you’re playing better than .700 ball. That’s insane.
After his most recent debacle on the mound, Buchholz has allowed the second most earned runs in the American League (40), just one earned run behind Dallas Keuchel for the league lead. His 6.35 ERA is the highest mark in the American League, and he’s allowed the second most home runs in the AL (12), too. In his 10 starts this year, he’s allowed 5 earned runs or more in six of them. This isn’t a couple of terrible starts that have skewed his ERA for the year. He’s been awful all season.
So now begs the question of, what do you do with Clay Buchholz? Well, the answer is pretty simple. You take him out of the rotation. But how? Ideally, I’m sure the Red Sox would love to come up with a phantom injury, and stash him on the disabled list so that he can clear his head, and work on his pitching problems during a rehab stint with Pawtucket. Well, that’s not going to happen, because Buchholz was talking all about how healthy he is after the game last night, and how this is the best he’s felt in years. Thanks, Clay!
Now, it would seem that the most likely option is to put him in the bullpen, and that’s saying something, because the most likely option is not the most logical one. Me personally, I’m done with the guy. I’d designate him for assignment so fast, it would make your head spin. But the Red Sox obviously want to hang onto Buchholz for some bizarre, maddening reason. You could make a case that he’s going to be even WORSE as a reliever than he has been as a starter, and he is statistically the worst starting pitcher in the American League.
How could he possibly be worse? Well, he has the worst ERA in the league, so on the surface, we know that he sucks at pitching. But then you look at what a reliever does. Or in his case, what a long reliever does. Let’s say that you need Buchholz for one inning of work. He has a 7.20 ERA in the first inning this year. Awesome. What about if you need him to give you a couple of innings? He has a 9.90 ERA in the second inning. Fantastic. Yeah, I can see this working out great. If I’m the Red Sox, I DFA Buchholz immediately. What are they afraid of? Are they afraid that he’s going to end up with a contender? That’d be great! Then YOU can hit three two-run home runs in a game, too! Maybe more!
And with Eduardo Rodriguez essentially ready to join this Red Sox rotation when called upon, it’s not even Rodriguez that’s putting the final nail in Buchholz’s coffin. It’s Joe Kelly. Because if Kelly’s not pitching as well as he has in his last time out with Pawtucket and his first start in Boston, then we’re talking about putting Kelly in the bullpen as the most likely scenario to play out. But if he can prove to be as good as he has been, since returning from his injury, then he deserves to stay over Buchholz, clearly. And even if Kelly has a hiccup or two along the way, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the larger body of work that Kelly can provide will far exceed anything that Buchholz can.
Cut the ties, Red Sox. It’s time to move on.
Final score: Rockies 8, Red Sox 2