When you take a pitcher who’s boasting a 9-0 record and a 1.71 ERA out of your rotation, it’s supposed to dramatically effect your ball club. Instead, what the Red Sox have done is stayed grounded and persistent, remaining at the top of the heap in a competitive division.
Clay Buchholz last pitched on June 8th against the Angels in a game where he went 6.2 IP to earn his 9th victory. Since that game, the Red Sox have gone 9-8 and avoided what could have been a major slip up in a crucial portion of the season. The Sox’ aren’t streaking by any means, but these past few weeks are a sure sign that this team is in the right place. There were two tough series with the Rays where Boston could have ended up on the losing end of a lot of those games, but managed to grind out wins. A lousy visit to Detroit losing three out four, a closer controversy, and then they bounce back at home to grab two from the Rockies. It’s not pretty, but these wins are so important when September rolls around.
The reason I bring Buchholz into all of this is because the Red Sox have to be ready to prove that they can be successful without him. According to WEEI’s Kevin Dillon, he had an MRI today that confirmed he has shoulder inflammation, but no structural damage which is a good sign. Even so, it means he will be shut down for the next few days and prolongs what was believed to be a minor injury.
Despite his surgeon-like precision on the mound, one thing we know about Buccholz is he’s injury prone. We have seen it throughout his whole career. In 2010, he started off the year with a 10-4 record and a 2.45 ERA before pulling a hamstring and missing a month. 2011 was the “year of the stress fracture.” He’s never once gone over 200 IP for a season, the closest was 189.1 in 2012. It seems as though he can never put one entire season together without any setbacks which is frustrating for the fans, and for Buchholz himself as well.
The hopes are that Clay will be back and be able to make a start before the All-Star break so that he can get some momentum going into the second half. Meanwhile, the Sox’ need to keep the ship straight until their ace returns. That means everybody stays healthy, yes that includes you Ellsbury.
Lackey pitched a gem yesterday. All eyes on Lester for the same tonight.