Results tagged ‘ Clay Buchholz ’
After losing the first two games of this series, a gem by Clay Buchholz Saturday night has put the Sox in position to salvage a split of this four-game series. They have a decisive advantage today in the pitching matchup, with a red-hot Jon Lester taking on Bruce Chen.
Dustin Pedroia will not start today. Obviously the little second baseman is scuffling at the plate. Today’s off-day coincides with Monday’s team day off, which means a well-rested Pedroia can take the field on Tuesday night.
Victor Martinez will also take a breather today after playing the last two games on a badly bruised left toe.
Josh Beckett held court with the media a little while ago. He doesn’t seem overly concerned about his back injury, thinking he could experience great improvement at any time. If anything, Beckett feels the team was overly conservative not letting him throw the last two days. But as he said, “Everyone has to answer to somebody.”
Encore, anyone? It will be hard to top Sunday for pageantry, drama and everything else.
But back they are, the Sox and the Yankees, for the second game of this series, and their second game of the season.
When you score nine runs like the Red Sox did on Sunday, don’t expect any lineup changes, and there aren’t any.
It was a great Opener offensively for manager Terry Francona’s nine.The only two guys who didn’t get hits were Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz, so perhaps they will get their firsts out of the way. Maybe Ortiz will take Burnett deep tonight and hit home run No. 1 on April 6 instead of May 20, like he did last year. Ortiz has three career homers off Burnett.
Clay Buchholz, meanwhile, won’t pitch until Sunday in Kansas City, which is nine days removed from his last spring start. To shake off any potential rust, he will throw a simulated game at Fenway tomorrow for three innings.
Lefty Alan Embree, at least judging by the linescore, had no detectable rust in his first game action of 2010.
Embree pitched in a Minor League game against the Orioles’ Triple-A squad today, reeling off a 1-2-3 inning that included a strikeout, a groundout and a popout. He threw 12 pitches, 11 for strikes.
The next step for the 40-year-old Embree will likely be a Major League game on Saturday against the Orioles in Sarasota.
Aside from the good news on Dustin Pedroia’s negative X-ray, not much else in the news department.
Manager Terry Francona did express confidence in Clay Buchholz, despite his rough outing on Tuesday night.
“Two innings in Fort Myers in the middle of March,” said Francona. “I would rather take those nine starts that he [made late last year]. Again, that’s kind of what I’ve been saying. I know we have to make decisions on when guys pitch and things like that early in the season and that can get overblown. As far as we feel about Buck, he’s good. He’s gonna be good.”
Meanwhile, Manny Delcarmen threw a 1-2-3 inning against the Twins on Tuesday, but he hasn’t found his groove yet. The issue? Delivery tweaks.
“He and [pitching coach] John [Farrell] are going back and forth and it’s not like they’re butting heads.” said Francona. “They’re just trying to get to a point where he comes to balance and he can drive off that mound and have everything in sync. I don’t think we’re there yet. I’m just being honest.”
Daisuke Matsuzaka will make his long-awaited Grapefruit League debut for Thursday, when he comes on in relief of knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.
While Clay Buchholz (two innings, five hits, three runs, two walks, 37 pitches) had a somewhat forgettable day, he is past the point in his career where he needs to be measured by Spring Training stats. Yet there is still one little problem: The Red Sox have more Major League-worthy starters (six) than spots (five).
Buchholz can add. He knows this. Is it a little awkward?
“It would be awkward for anybody. I guess there’s four guys regardless what happens will be on the staff,” Buchholz said. “The other two, three guys, yeah it’s awkward. Got to basically do what I did last spring, do what I did to finish he season last year, and I think everything will take care of itself.”
It was a pretty good deay for a couple of other guys trying to make the team in the bullpen. Scott Atchison had a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two.
Boof Bonser looked extremely sharp for the second outing in a row, striking out three and giving up one hit over two innings. Bonser is being stretched out like a starter, but has the inside track on a spot in the bullpen.
“He’s got a nice, clean delivery,” said Francona. “For a guy who has gone through some things with his shoulder, he likes to pitch. He doesn’t look scared. He’s a really interesting guy. We’ll try to build him up and see where it will take him. I think as he builds up and gets some of that velocity back, he gets a little bit more interesting.”
Atchison, meanwhile, is competing with Joe Nelson, Brian Shouse and some others for what would probably be the 12th slot on the staff.
The big story of the day was the hometown kid, Casey Kelly, firing off two shutout innings. It was Kelly’s first time back at Ed Smith Stadium since he led Sarasota High School to a state championship in 2007.
Even veteran umpire John Hirschbeck was taken aback that Kelly is only 20.
“Even the umpire, between innings, was like, how old is that kid?” Francona said.
In other news, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, citing a source familiar with the talks, says that early discussions between Josh Beckett and the Red Sox have been amicable, perhaps creating optimism that the ace will never get to free agency at the end of the season. It should be noted that it is still very early in the process.
As we wait for Clay Buchholz to make his Grapefruit League debut and Casey Kelly to pitch against Major League hitters for the first time in his hometown to boot, here are some quick hits from this morning:
There could be a schedule of progression for third baseman Mike Lowell by tomorrow. Lowell was expected to huddle with trainer Mike Reinold today in Fort Myers to map things out as far as when he might be game ready.
Daisuke Matsuzaka had his first true bullpen session of camp this morning, meaning that the catcher was in a full crouch the entire time. Pitching coach John Farrell told manager Terry Francona that March 18 could be a rough estimate of when Dice-K is ready to pitch in games. The Red Sox don’t play on March 18 — the team’s only off-day of Spring Training — so perhaps that won’t be the date. Or there’s always a B game.
Farrell said that Dice will throw another bullpen in two to three days, and then batting practice by Friday or Saturday. If all goes well, he could pitch a Minor League game after that instead of a second BP session.
Wondering why Jason Varitek hasn’t been in a game since Wednesday night? The catcher has been tending to a personal matter, and the Red Sox have given him their blessing to prioritize that and return when he is ready.
“We just told him to handle what he needs to and we’ll make adjustments. He knows he has our blessing to do what he needs to do,” Francona said.
There hasn’t been much buzz about prospect Michael Bowden lately, perhaps because he got rocked in limited opportunities with the big league team last year. But there has been progress in his development.
“I’ve got to go back a little ways. A couple years ago, he went to that API in Florida, and he got strong. He got big. Now, he’s slimmed down a little bit, but he didn’t sacrifice strength,” Francona said. “We don’t really want him to do that. But he’s had so many adjustments in his delivery – as you can tell, you see him every few months, there’s a little bit different
delivery. We want him to be a little bit more relaxed and fluid in his delivery. I see him every day in that weight room, in the mirror, which is good. We’re just trying to have, I think that’s the right word, a little bit less tight.”
Meanwhile, Jacoby Ellsbury, who gets a start in center today with Mike Cameron not on the trip, is vying for the early team leader in bus rides, at least among the established players.
“Jacoby needs to pull for another wave of young guys – because he’s making some tough trips. He’s the youngest guy, he’s going to get [the brunt of it],” laughed Francona. “I hate to tell him that.”
The 2010 Red Sox have officially played a game. OK, it’s not quite official. In fact, it doesn’t even count as a Grapefruit League game. But it was a 15-0 victory over Northeastern.
There was a sequence in this game you might never see again. Ino Guerrero, wearing No. 34, hit for the team’s other No. 34 — a guy named Big Papi.
Who is Ino Guerrero? His official title is “Major League staff”. Mainly, he is a batting practice pitcher. When Manny Ramirez played for the Red Sox, Ino threw just about all of his BP sessions. He still throws to David Ortiz all the time. The Red Sox had fun with his two at-bats, which resulted in two soft groundouts. Red Sox veterans heckled Guerrero from the top step of the dugout as he battled against Northeastern. Guerrero, pictured below by Brita Meng Outzen, grounded out so weakly in his second at-bat, that he didn’t even bother running out of
“We’ve had a couple [of highlights] — the ’04 and ’07 [titles] are definitely at the top, but the Ino at-bats are right there. I never have caught myself rooting against our people,” Francona said, laughing. “That’s hard to say. But it’s one of the highlights, man. We’re playing Northeastern and every player from the next game is on the rail watching, pulling for a pulled hamstring. He warmed up for six innings!”
Ortiz, already dressed and ready to go home, checked out his BP pitcher from the dugout in amusement.
Before the game turned into pure fun, Ortiz belted a two-run homer to right, a good sign for the Sox even if it was a windy (blowing out) type of day against college competition.
“David put good swings on the ball, and had good at-bats,” said Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez. “That’s a pretty good sign for this early in the camp.”
Meanwhile, Casey Kelly experienced his first taste of pitching for the Red Sox, firing 10 pitches in a scoreless first inning that also included two strikeouts.
While the Red Sox were tuning up with Northeastern — with a nightcap soon to start against Boston College — Clay Buchholz got two innings in over at the Minor League complex.
One Red Sox prospect you don’t hear as much about as some of the others is Che-Hsuan Lin, a speedy center fielder from Taiwan. You right remember Lin being named MVP of the Futures Game at Yankee Stadium two years ago. Lin started the Northeastern game and went 2-for-4.
“He smacked the ball,” said Francona. “It’s a nice way for a young kid to get his first chance to swing a bat in this atmosphere. I’m sure he probably had a little heartbeat going.”
For the second time in three days, Mike Lowell, a career third baseman, spent time at first base during Boston’s workouts.
Lowell is trying to gain comfort at first this spring, which could help his market value and also make him more viable to the Red Sox if he stays with the club.
Manager Terry Francona said that Lowell seemed to make the transition to the other side of the diamond “pretty good”. Here he is taking a grounder down the line, in a photo by Brita Meng Outzen.
“For everybody, it’s different,” Francona said. “From my standpoint, you’re seeing the ball off the bat from a completely different angle. It’s like left field, right field. I think as you get comfortable, if you can play third, you’re going to be able to catch the ball at first. But when it’s not to you at third, you can stand there. When it’s not hit to you at first, you better get to first. It’s just different real estate. But once you get comfortable over there, then the natural instincts take over.”
The Red Sox managed to get all their work in on Saturday, despite a downpour that started almost immediately when they came off the field.
“Everything, which was very fortunate,” Francona said. “Right when Pap took the mound, the groundskeeper came out and said, ‘you’ve got 10 more minutes’ which would have been a little different. But no, we got everything in. It wasn’t the best day ever but we got everything in. Guys got their throwing in, guys got their hitting and we’re OK.”
Daisuke Matsuzaka continues to climb back to full health in his recovery from a minor back injury.
“Dice-K today, he threw off the mound — just tossed off the mound. Today was kind of his down day because tomorrow is going to be 150 feet,” Francona said. “But he did it off the mound so he could at least be at that angle. He wasn’t throwing hard but just so he could get the feel of that angle because you can’t do that off the flatground. Tomorrow will be a pretty aggressive day, probably out to 140 or 150.”
Matuzaka should have a full-out bullpen session by early next week, perhaps Tuesday.
In case you missed it, the here is how the pitching lines up for the exhibition games.
Wednesday vs. Northeastern and Boston College — Casey Kelly and Boof Bonser.
Thursday at home vs. the Twins. Josh Beckett; Friday at the Twins complex. Jon Lester, piggybacked by Tim Wakefield. Saturday split squad at home vs. the Twins. John Lackey. Saturday on the road split squad. Felix Doubront; Sunday at Sarasota vs. the Orioles. Clay Buchholz.
Better now for Buchholz to have a night like this than his first postseason start, right?
Four homers in three innings. How unfathomable is that? Buchholz had given up four homers over his last 58 2/3 innings entering tonight.
In other news, the Red Sox again have Hideki Okajima available in the bullpen. The lefty had an injured right side that had kept him out a few days. Mike Lowell will return to the mix on Thursday.
Nick Green, still trying to prove he’s healthy enough to be on the postseason roster, could be back in action by Friday.
Clay Buchholz had produced three consecutive stellar starts for the first time in his career, but took a major step back tonight.
He had a 9-4 lead after four innings, but couldn’t even finish the fifth inning. In other words, he is now ineligible for the win.
This wouldn’t be so concerning if it wasn’t the second time it has happened to him this season. Remember on Aug. 2 in Baltimore, when Buchholz had leads of 6-0 and 9-7 and was pulled with nobody out in the fifth?
Obviously, he can be a tremendous pitcher when he is focused, as was the case when he faced Sabathia, Verlander and Halladay. But if the Red Sox are going to count on him heavily down the stretch, they can’t afford inconsistencies.
There is some thought that Buchholz could be the No. 3 starter in the playoffs, but he would have to really go on a roll to earn that faith from manager Terry Francona and pitching coach John Farrell.