September 2010

Buchholz flat-lines in Oakland

Maybe Clay Buchholz is hitting a wall. Six days after not having his usual sharpness in a start against the White Sox, Buchholz was simply awful tonight, recording just three outs before being lifted.

As the Red Sox slip from contenders to non-contenders, you wonder if Buchholz will skip a start or two here with an eye toward next year.

This was the shortest start of his career. The only other start he recorded just three outs was the game in San Francisco earlier this year when he injured his hamstring while running the bases.

Audition time brings back memories

With the Red Sox set to give Lars Anderson and Josh Reddick fairly extended looks down the stretch, it brings back memories to the last time Boston was out of a pennant race at this point of the season.

That would be 2006, when a young player named Dustin Pedroia got his feet wet in the Major Leagues down the stretch.

In Pedroia’s 31-game audition, he hit .191 with two homers and seven RBIs, rotating between second base and shortstop.

Manager Terry Francona had some interesting recollections of that time before Wednesday’s game.

“He didn’t look too good,” Francona said. “I remember — that’s all I heard was this kid’s
so good. All I did was make outs and then he went to Spring Training
and he started the year and made outs and then what everybody in the
organization said was true was. He’s a tremendous player. They pretty much nailed it with him. They said he’ll probably
start slow and he’ll end up being a great player. That’s about what he
was.”

Do Francona and Pedroia ever recall those days?

“Oh yeah, I talked to him all the time,” Francona said. “He laughs now. I don’t think it was too funny then. We had given him two days off in a row and played [Alex] Cora. And [then-bench coach Brad Mills] went up to him in the shower and said something like, ‘you’re playing tomorrow kid, let’s go.’ Pedey was scared to death of Millsy at the time which is funny now when you look back. He tells that story all the time. He goes, ‘I was kind of feeling it. And then that day in Minnesota he had a couple of hits and never turned back.”

Lars arrives; Reddick returns

After a thoroughly depressing weekend, things livened up a little at Fenway today as Lars Anderson was called up and made his Major League debut.

Assuming the Red Sox don’t climb back into contention, following Anderson’s development will be one of the fascinating aspects of the season.

There is a lot to like about the big lefty hitter. The question is this: How much power will he grow into? Anderson has taken leaps and bounds this year, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

Josh Reddick also re-appeared today for the fourth time this season. Reddick had a blazing-hot second half down the stretch for Pawtucket.

How much playing time Reddick and Anderson get will be dictated mainly by what happens in the standings. Translation: If the Red Sox don’t sweep the Rays, you are going to see a lot of both those guys going forward.

Manny being Manny — again

Who can figure Manny out? The newest member of the Chicago White Sox is back in Boston for the second time this season, but far more talkative than in his first visit.

Do you know that if the Red Sox had been awarded the waiver claim for Ramirez instead of the White Sox, he would have happily come back to Boston?

“What I did here in the past is in the past. But if they claimed me, why should I say no?” Ramirez said.

For the first time, he was openly apologetic about the way his time with the Red Sox ended. You know, the swing at Youkilis, the shoving of Jack McCormick, the petulant behavior. All that stuff.

“Everything was my fault, but you have to be a real man to realize when you do wrong. It was my fault, right. I already passed that stage,” Ramirez said. “I’m happy. I’m on a new team. When I went to first base [in June], I told Youkilis, ‘What happened between you and me, that’s my fault. I’m sorry. It takes a real man to go and tell a person it was my fault  and that’s what I did.”

Ramirez is clearly more introspective than at any time before in his career.

“In life, you pass every stage,” Ramirez said. “I passed that stage and you keep growing. You look back and say I did this wrong, but what’s done is done. All you can do is go and play the game and finish your career good.”

Ramirez will be at Fenway Park all day on Saturday for a day-night doubleheader.

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