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Clay Buchholz could be out of the Sox’ rotation, could be heading for the disabled list

May 27, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

Clay Buchholz Getty Images

The Red Sox snapped their ten-game losing streak yesterday. It was pretty amazing that they did, though, as starting pitcher Clay Buchholz was horrendous. He walked eight guys and gave up six runs in three innings. He faced 21 batters and 12 of them reached base. If not for David Ortiz‘s heroics and a great performance by Sox relievers, that streak would now be at 11.

After the game, manager John Farrell hinted that Buchholz could be out of the rotation, saying “we’ve got to look at this a little bit closer,” and that “there’s no determination on five days from now.” It’s possible that, rather than a demotion, Buchholz could go on the DL, even though he says he’s healthy. As Gordon Edes reports at ESPN Boston, Buchholz’s issues may be mechanical — and watching him pitch yesterday it’s clear that he’s a mechanical mess right now — but it’s quite possible that the mechanical problems are a function of lingering physical problems:

One scout who watched Buchholz on Monday said he does not come over the top the way he did early in his career, when he threw a devastating 12-to-6 curveball and didn’t rely as much as he does now on his cutter. But Buchholz already had modified his arm slot last season.

Continuing to call his issues mechanical in nature may be an exercise in semantics; his mechanics may be off because his shoulder won’t allow him to do the things he did before he was hurt.

Buchholz acknowledged that possibility and noted that it’s all out of his hands.

At the moment, Buchholz’s ERA is over 7 and he looks worse now than he has ever looked. It’d be rather surprising if he took his next turn in the rotation.

HBT Daily: What’s wrong with the Red Sox?

  1. Jack Marshall - May 27, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    He should have started the season in the minors; having him work out his issues while losing games was managerial malpractice by Farrell. Buchholtz is beginning to look like the 2014 Daniel Bard—I’m sure it’s Bobby Valentine’s fault—and even if he recovers his touch until the next injury, I think it should be clear that the Red Sox cannot plan on this pitcher being a reliable resource, probably ever. Which means they should get rid of him.

    Too bad.

    • aceshigh11 - May 27, 2014 at 11:05 AM

      Were you in a coma last year when he was one of the best pitchers in the majors last year with an undefeated record before his back injury?

      People have calling Buchholz a lost cause for years, and he manages to snap back. I don’t think he has the mental or physical toughness to be the top-of-the-rotation ace and never did, but he’s got the ability to overcome whatever his issue is now.

      • 18thstreet - May 27, 2014 at 11:34 AM

        I think it’s safe to say that no one knows what the heck is going on with him that’s causing the poor results. He’s a mystery.

      • Jack Marshall - May 27, 2014 at 6:30 PM

        That’s right, he’s a mystery, and you can’t depend on mysteries. He’s never made it through a whole season without either stinking for months, or going on the shelf. Pitchers like that either kill teams who forever wait for the consistency that never comes, or become aces with desperate teams that take a flyer after all teh good teams have passed—and that doesn’t happen often. He is the Yankees Phil Hughes at best, Jaba at worst. Either way, pitchers like him don’t belong on contenders.

    • Kevin S. - May 27, 2014 at 11:53 AM

      Buchholz came into the season with more than five years of service time – pretty sure he couldn’t have been sent down without his permission even if he still had options.

      • Jack Marshall - May 27, 2014 at 6:31 PM

        Irrelevant. You tell him to go down and prove he can pitch, or trade him to the Klondike. A pitcher who pitches this badly better agree to go down.

  2. thetoolsofignorance - May 27, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    His issue might be bullfrog sunscreen. If he can’t cheat he cant win.

    • deathmonkey41 - May 27, 2014 at 12:25 PM

      I’m pretty sure he’s putting it in his hair. It looks oily as hell and he kept running his hand through it yesterday as he was having problems with his control. I just don’t think it’s as effective there as it is on his arms. Unfortunately, ever since his manager called out Pineda for it, he can’t be as blatantly obvious as he had been…

  3. theskinsman - May 27, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    Yeah, the sunscreen threw a no hitter for him. Moronic post of the day. Apt screen name, however.

  4. renaado - May 27, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    Redsox truly can’t catch a break, not that Buchholz plus 7 era helps em anyway.

    Still, wish him to get back on the mound soon and see if he can still get that era down.

    • 18thstreet - May 27, 2014 at 11:34 AM

      I don’t think they’ve been a victim of bad luck. Tampa’s had much worse luck, especially when it comes to injuries.

      Playing badly is not “bad luck.”

      • renaado - May 27, 2014 at 11:56 AM

        The only worse luck i’ve seen and known so far in the Majors (injury wise) are the Texas Rangers. Truly a “phenomenon” is a word I can describe it.

        “Bad luck” isn’t the term I’m referin to em though, but rather their inconsistency in pitching if you compare it from their performance last year.

  5. janvajda - May 27, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    Reblogged this on Attorney at Law Jan Vajda Namestovo, Slovakia.

    • drewsylvania - May 27, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      Interesting FYI for people who hate the “reblogs”: NBCSP has a “reblog” link right at the top of the screen.

      • nbjays - May 27, 2014 at 11:09 AM

        And when you click it, it generates a post like the one above, as far as I know.

      • drewsylvania - May 27, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        IOW, if you hate the reblog comments, blame NBCSP, not the reblogger.

      • 18thstreet - May 27, 2014 at 11:37 AM

        I believe that one can hit that reblog button and make it a post on your own blog and it will show up here as a comment. My thumbs-downs are only when people don’t make a comment in addition to the rebloggification. It’s a word. Look it up.

  6. rollinghighwayblues - May 27, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    Everybody, listen, if you didn’t watch the telecast yesterday then you are misinformed. Rick Sutcliffe figured out the one flaw in his mechanics that was disabling him and it was that Buccholz was swinging it left leg too far back in the windup. I only heard him say it 78 times during the two hours it took Buccholz to get through three innings of work.

    • drewsylvania - May 27, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      I can’t decide if this is satire or not.

      • rollinghighwayblues - May 27, 2014 at 11:15 AM

        Beyond satire.

  7. bigharold - May 27, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Isn’t Farrell the pitching guru they had to have back? It’s amazing that Buchholz can be this bad and the RS can’t fix his mechanics or point to what is ailing him. At the moment he’s a pretty bad pitcher and I’d think something that causes that kind of fall off would be more obvious.

    If I’m Lester, my price just went up.

    • aceshigh11 - May 27, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      He’s back in the capacity of manager, not pitching coach.

      Now, OF COURSE I’m sure that if he sees something obvious, he’ll say something since, as pitching coach, he worked closely with both Buchholz and Lester when they were younger, but he can only devote so many hours in the day to the pitching staff.

      He’s got way more on his plate.

      • bigharold - May 27, 2014 at 11:28 AM

        I completely agree, as Manager he has a lot more to concern himself with nor is it a good idea to micromanage the pitching staff. That said, considering how poorly they’re doing in general, his earlier successful relationship and how much they’d benefit by fixing this one pitcher,… after all it is his area of expertise. If they can’t fix this soon the RS season will be pretty much done by 4th of July.

        I’m not impressed by Farrell as a Manager, not in Toronto and not with the RS. And, I do realize that he lead the RS to the WS championship last season. But, that is starting to look more and more like good fortune than anything else.

      • playball - May 27, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        Buchholz always says how good he feels and that he made good pitches during his games. That’s including this year. There has to be at some point, an accountability factor.

        He does have his five years so he’s able to do as he wishes. Pitching coaches and hitting coaches can help those that are willing to work out their problems.

        Alex Speier had an interesting article about Buch. It basically stated that this is the guy we should expect him to be and examined his career.

        I’m not throwing this on Farrell or Nieves. Farrell wouldn’t throw him under the bus. And Buchholz is the first to admit when he is hurting. Maybe he’ll listen to his teammates. Could be human and have other stuff going on, too.

  8. drewsylvania - May 27, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    I’ve wanted the Sox to trade him for two years. At some point you have to accept that he is fantastically talented, but due to injuries and inconsistency can rarely put it together long enough to be relied upon.

    The next time (if there’s a next time) he gets eight shutout innings, trade him for pitching prospects.

    • aceshigh11 - May 27, 2014 at 11:06 AM

      But the longer they wait and the more meltdowns he suffers, the lower his value to other teams becomes.

      • drewsylvania - May 27, 2014 at 11:21 AM

        Right, which is why I wanted him traded before LAST season. But now, they’re stuck with figuring him out or getting little back for him. The former is probably the best option.

    • Jack Marshall - May 27, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      Yup. Exactly.

  9. proudlycanadian - May 27, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Before you place someone on the DL, doesn’t he have to be actually injured? Is there any evidence that Buchholz is injured?

    Buchholz reminds me a bit of Ricky Romero. Romero’s struggles became so bad that when the Jays put him on waivers, nobody wanted him.

    • 18thstreet - May 27, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      Just for informative purposes, here’s the contract Buccholz is currently pitching under

      12: $3.5M
      13: $5.5M
      14: $7.7M
      15: $12M
      16: $13M club option ($0.245M buyout),
      17: $13.5M club option ($0.5M buyout)

      • unlost1 - May 27, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        OMG how insane. That needs more restructuring than his elbow.

      • Kevin S. - May 27, 2014 at 12:09 PM

        Not really. The low values in the first three seasons reflect the fact that those would have been arbitration years. 2015 would have been an FA season and pays him accordingly, and then the two club options are very team friendly. Not seeing any structure issue here at all.

      • proudlycanadian - May 27, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        That is a lot of money. If he does not perform, who would want him?

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - May 27, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      Before you place someone on the DL, doesn’t he have to be actually injured? Is there any evidence that Buchholz is injured?

      Well they could always make something up, and then let him work on some issues in the minors (a la what the Yanks did with Nova his first few years) but that’s only a 30 day window. Granted it doesn’t help when the pitcher says he’s not hurt.

      The hard part about Buccholz is no one should have any idea what his “true talent level” is. In the six years he pitched from ’08 to ’13, he’s averaged only 120 IP at a 119 ERA+. So if someone could keep him healthy, he’d be a good pitcher. But he can never stay healthy…

      • proudlycanadian - May 27, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        The Red Sox now claim that he hyper extended his knee. Wonder if he will end up on the 60 day DL?

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