|Clay Buchholz, rest of the Red Sox starters have executed an interesting traveling trend||05.17.13 at 10:09 pm ET|
MINNEAPOLIS – It’s not clear how it might translate into wins and losses, but John Farrell certainly has taken notice of the dynamic.
For the sixth time in as many opportunities this season, the Red Sox pitcher who was scheduled to start in a series opening game in different city than the team had played the night before, didn’t travel ahead of the club.
This time it was Clay Buchholz who remained with his team in St. Petersburg, Fla. the night before he was slated to take the hill against the Twins at Target Field Friday night.
“My only comparison was being here before,” the Red Sox manager said, “and guys would travel ahead a little more frequently.”
Asked if the dynamic might be a microcosm of the new clubhouse culture, Farrell said, “That’s the way I look at it. Some guys, just by nature, don’t want to go out head. They want to travel with the group and not have that feeling of separation.
“We give the option to every guy and still most guys want to stay with the team and don’t want to break away from that unit. They want to give the support the night before they’re pitching and feel like they can manage the travel and still be prepared to pitch.”
As for tangible results stemming from the strategy, it has been a mixed back. Heading into Friday, the Red Sox starters have totaled a 5.15 ERA, which dips to 3.52 without Felix Doubront’s 3 2/3-inning, six-run outing in Texas. And Buchholz brought the numbers down even further with his performance against the Twins Friday.
Yet, with or without early-season excellence, the intentions are what have struck a chord with those in the Sox’ clubhouse.
“I’ve always believed I’m not the only one playing, my teammates are all playing too,” said Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster. “The other thing is, what if you go 17 innings or something and I’m sitting on my couch or bed at home and my team ends up losing a game because I’m not there to help. You can sleep on a plane and get your rest.
“With this team, everybody kind of wants to be together. I think that’s awesome. It just everybody’s preference, but everybody here wants to stay and be a part of it.”
Undefeated Clay Buchholz will be matched up against right-hander Vance Worley as the Red Sox and Twins begin a three-game series in Minnesota on Friday night.
Buchholz’ early success has been a big reason why the Red Sox are 24-17 this season, compared to an 18-20 record on this date a year ago. Through eight starts in 2012, Buchholz owned a 7.77 ERA. But this year, he sits just behind Felix Hernandez with the second-lowest ERA in the American League at 1.69. At this point last season, he had only struck out 25 batters while walking 23 in 44 innings. In 2013, he’s fanned 60 while walking 21 in 58 2/3 innings, good for a 2.86 strikeout-to-walk rate. Buchholz also had problems with the longball in the early part of 2012, giving up 10 home runs in his first eight games. This year, he’s allowed only one home run, and that was in his very first start of the season. He hasn’t let one out of the park in 55 innings.
The Twins are the only team in 2013 to get more than two runs off Buchholz, tagging him for four earned runs on six hits and two walks in six innings on May 6. Minnesota has given Buchholz some trouble in the past; despite a 3-1 record against the Twins in his career, he possesses a 4.54 ERA and 1.458 WHIP in six starts and 35 2/3 innings.
Worley has not been the dominant pitcher the Twins hoped he would be when they acquired him from the Phillies in December. The 25-year-old righty comes into the game with a 7.15 ERA and WHIP just under two, allowing an average of 15.2 hits per nine innings. Worley notched his first win in a Twins uniform his last time out, but his performance wasn’t all that impressive. He allowed five runs on a season-high 11 hits to the Orioles, walking one, fanning one and hitting a batter. His 5 1/3-inning outing was the first time he made it past the fifth inning in three starts.
Worley took on Buchholz once already this season, getting a no-decision after allowing three runs on nine hits to the Sox. He’s only faced the Red Sox one other time in his career, throwing seven innings and allowing one run against Boston in 2011 while he was pitching for the Phillies.
|Saturday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Mark Buehrle||05.11.13 at 9:15 am ET|
Clay Buchholz will take the hill for the Red Sox on Saturday afternoon and face the Blue Jays for the second time in 2013. He’ll face off against Mark Buehrle, who is looking for his second win of the season.
It’s hard to forget Buchholz’s last outing against the Jays in Toronto back on the first day of this month. The start itself was an impressive one; Buchholz threw seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball, walking three and striking out eight. But it was the controversy stirred up by Toronto analysts Jack Morris and Dirk Hayhurst that prompted people across the country to take notice. The pair accused the right-hander of using an illegal substance to doctor the baseball, claiming that Buchholz’s was essentially throwing a spitball.
“It was all over his forearm, all over the lower part of his T-shirt, it’s all in his hair,” Morris said of a slick substance that was noticeable in screen captures of game footage. “I can’t prove anything,” he added. Hayhurst, who drew some criticism for his accusations, said “Look, I saw Clay Buchholz going to his forearm, where there was not skin-colored something there, taking two fingers, wiping it across, massaging said cream or Stickum or slickum or whatever the popular buzzword of today is, and then using it to grip the baseball. That’s illegal. You can’t do that.”
All eyes will be on Buchholz as he takes the mound on Saturday, but the starter seems unfazed by all of the claims. The American League Pitcher of the Month for April insisted that he was doing the same thing he’s always done: put rosin on him arm. “I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I definitely don’t think if I’d given up nine runs in 2 1/3 innings it would have been an issue. That’s my guess. I don’t know. It is what it is,” Buchholz said after the day after his outing in Toronto.
Buchholz, who had been nothing short of brilliant in his first six starts, struggled for the first time this season against the Twins in his last start on Monday night. The Sox righty gave up a season-high four runs in six innings on seven hits, throwing a season-high 116 pitches. Buchholz did not factor in the decision for the first time this season, remaining undefeated in 2013. Buchholz comes into Saturday with a 6-0 record and a 1.60 ERA in seven starts this season.
The Sox starter has enjoyed a lot of success against Toronto over the course of his career, owning a 9-4 record and 2.42 ERA (the lowest against an AL East rival) in 15 starts vs. the Jays. The Blue Jays are batting only .207 as a team against Buchholz with 81 strikeouts in 100 1/3 innings.
|Curt Schilling on M&M: ‘As a player, this is our fault’ that players like David Ortiz face PED questions||05.10.13 at 12:26 pm ET|
ESPN analyst Curt Schilling joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about Red Sox news, including the controversies surrounding David Ortiz and Clay Buchholz.
Ortiz was the subject of an article by Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy that raised the question of whether the slugger could have used performance-enhancing drugs to help him recover from his Achilles injury and get off to a scorching start this season. Schilling has had a longstanding feud with Shaughnessy, but even he acknowledged that the speculation was understandable.
“I love David. I love him to death. And I think a lot of what Dan has done in his life has been personally driven. But he didn’t ask a question that people aren’t asking themselves,” Schilling said. “And I keep going to back to, as a player, this is our fault. We did this. We let this happen. We had a chance to stop it and we didn’t. I think the way it was done was kind of cheesy. But there are people asking that very question.”
Added Schilling: “We had a chance among multiple collective bargaining agreements — and as a former player rep, I’m one of those guys — we could have stopped this, and we didn’t. And I think a lot of it was naiveté, I think there was some ignorance. But I think at the end of the day, it was out of sight, out of mind. And it’s coming back to haunt us. … I love David Ortiz to death. He’s one of my closest friends, he’s one of my favorite teammates. But again, I’m not sure Dan wasn’t asking the question that other people weren’t asking themselves.”
Shaughnessy asked Ortiz directly if he used PEDs in an uncomfortable exchange in the Red Sox locker room that left Ortiz angry.
“If you’re going to do that [story], I think that’s the only way you can do it and have an ounce of respect,” Schilling said.
However, the former Sox pitcher noted that Shaughnessy’s history of inserting himself into Red Sox controversies has made players question his motives.
“My dad always told me, listen, when there’s a problem, you look around and you figure out the source. When there’s a problem 10 times over and you look around and the only common thread in that problem is you, you need to figure out what the hell you’re doing wrong,” Schilling said. “Every time we talk about articles like this, it’s always about with Dan writing them. And that’s the thing that bothers me. I’m obviously exaggerating a little bit. But that’s why players are frustrated and tired of it. Because it’s as important for him to be a part of the story as it is to write the story. And players have a problem with that.”
|Red Sox-Blue Jays series preview||at 9:31 am ET|
The Red Sox welcome the Blue Jays to town this weekend for the first time in 2013, opening up a three-game set on Friday night. It’s been a little over a week since the two teams met up in Toronto, where the Red Sox took two of three from the last-place Jays.
Things haven’t been going well since the Red Sox left Toronto, however. Boston was swept in Texas before coming home and dropping three of four to the Twins to kick off the homestand. The slide has resulted in it becoming a little more crowded at the top of the division. The Red Sox now are sharing second place with the Orioles, percentage points behind the Yankees.
Toronto still sits alone at the bottom of the AL East with a 13-23 record, and the Jays’ week didn’t go much better than Boston’s. The Jays dropped the first two games of their series in Seattle and split a four-game set with the Rays, losing Thursday night’s game in the 10th inning when reliever Brad Lincoln walked in the winning run with the bases loaded.
If that weren’t enough, the Jays lost their most consistent starter of 2013 when J.A. Happ was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Desmond Jennings on Tuesday night. Though the scene at Tropicana Field was terrifying and looked to be devastating, Happ was released from the hospital the next day and expects to miss only a few weeks with a knee injury he suffered when he collapsed to the ground.
The Jays also were faced with the reality that Ricky Romero was not ready to return from the minor leagues. The former ace of the staff allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings over two starts and was unable to get more than one out in his start on Wednesday. The Toronto bullpen was responsible for more than 16 innings of work in only two days.
The Jays have been disappointing in 2013, to say the very least. But R.A. Dickey, who was matched up against David Price in a Cy Young duel on Thursday night, said that a lack of effort isn’t the problem. “We’re not maybe playing the smartest baseball,” Dickey said after the loss on Thursday, “but we’re playing hard as crud.”
A divisional rival coming to town always makes for an exciting series, but this three-game set should be especially interesting given the controversy surrounding the teams’ last meeting. After Clay Buchholz’ brilliant two-hit, eight-strikeout performance against the Jays last Wednesday, Toronto radio analyst Dirk Hayhurst accused Buchholz of doctoring the baseball with a foreign substance. He and broadcaster Jack Morris pointed to Buchholz’ arm, at a substance that the pitcher maintains was rosin mixed with sweat. Buchholz seemed unfazed by the accusations, insisting, “I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I definitely don’t think if I’d given up nine runs in 2 1/3 innings it would have been an issue. That’s my guess. I don’t know. It is what it is.” Regardless of whether the claims had any basis, the story gained national attention, and there’s no doubt it will be something that is talked about as Buchholz takes the mound against the Jays on Saturday.
|Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan on D&C: ‘Clay Buchholz isn’t getting, to me, any sort of competitive advantage over his peers’||05.09.13 at 9:52 am ET|
Yahoo! Sports writer Jeff Passan joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to talk about the Clay Buchholz controversy. Passon published a piece Wednesday detailing how a large majority of pitchers throughout the majors use BullFrog brand sunscreen combined with powdered rosin to give them a superior grip on the baseball.
“What I don’t understand about this whole this is the indignance that’s coming from [Buchholz] about it,” Passan said. “I suppose if he were to come out and say, ‘Yeah, I had sunscreen on my arm, and when you mix it with resin it makes a really tacky, glue-like substance that allows you to grip the ball better.’ And pitchers know that across baseball they do it. And hitters know that pitchers do it. And nobody seems to have a problem with it.”
Buchholz’ apparent method was revealed by Blue Jays radio analyst Dirk Hayhurst, and Toronto TV analyst Jack Morris took it further, accusing Buchholz of doctoring the baseball.
“Dirk Hayhurst is not a villain for pointing this out,” Passan said. “I think Dirk Hayhurst, frankly, gave us all a much better insight into the game. Jack Morris said something stupid. This isn’t a spitball. It’s just not. The hitters and the pitchers will agree that you do not get any weird movement based on using BullFrog plus rosin.
“But for Clay Buchholz to continue to go out about this and say there was nothing on his arm but rosin? Rosin is a powder. His arm looked like it was dipped in Soul Glo [hair product]. I mean, it was bad. And it was egregious. And that’s why all the pitchers with whom I spoke were like, you know what, if you’re going to cheat, at least be smart about it. And I use the word ‘cheat’ very loosely. Because it just probably really isn’t cheating at all.”
Passan said he does not expect that Major League Baseball will attempt to restrict pitchers from using sunscreen to get a better grip.
“Baseball considers sunscreen legal, it considers rosin legal. If the two happen to make a tacky substance that helps them hold the ball a little bit better, then I think Major League Baseball’s OK with that,” Passan said. “It’s one of these things that for years has been around. It just so happens that no one’s said it. Look, if you look back at Yu Darvish‘s near perfect game earlier this year against Houston, he’s going to his left arm all the time. People I think noticed that. But the oil slick on his arm just wasn’t nearly as evident as it was with Buchholz’.”
Added Passan: “I think the main point here is everybody uses this stuff. And so Clay Buchholz isn’t getting, to me, any sort of competitive advantage over his peers by using it.”
Asked why Buchholz has had so much success this season, Passan said: “Because he’s been really good. It has nothing to do with the stuff that’s on his arm. His stuff is nasty. And his stuff has a lot of natural movement to it. As long as Clay Buchholz is healthy and is around the strike zone, he’s going to be this guy. He just hasn’t been healthy and hasn’t been around the strike zone in the past.
“I just think that he’s at that age right now where he realizes that his career can veer one of two ways. It can go down the path of superstardom, and it can go down the path of had all the potential in the world and threw it away. I think John Farrell‘s return and I think Josh Beckett‘s exit has created this confluence that Clay Buchholz is turning into that star.”
|Clay Buchholz: Sunscreen, rosin controversies ‘doing me an injustice’||05.08.13 at 8:51 pm ET|
Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz can’t understand the continued controversies directed his way, especially considering none of them have emanated from either his team or its opponents.
“I’ve gotten texts from a bunch of guys saying, ‘Man, it’s been fun watching you pitch this year. Don’t worry about what anybody says,’ ” he told WEEI.com prior to the Red Sox’ game against the Twins on Wednesday night.
First came the comments from Toronto television analyst Jack Morris and radio host Dirk Hayhurst regarding the accusation that Buchholz was doctoring baseballs during the starter’s May 1 start against the Blue Jays. It was later revealed that the action in question was Buchholz putting rosin on his left forearm (instead of using the actual rosin bag) in order to get a better grip on the baseball.
Now, Buchholz has been identified in a Yahoo! Sports column Wednesday as a potential example of a pitcher using a mix of BullFrog sunscreen and rosin to enhance his grip.
“I’ve used it in the past, but that wasn’t on my arm at any time this season,” Buchholz said of the sunblock product. “Day games, you put sunscreen on. That’s what you do, you put sunscreen on.”
The article states that while Buchholz had declined comment to Yahoo! Sports through a team spokesman, a source close to the Red Sox confirmed in the story that almost all of the team’s pitchers rely on the sunscreen mix.
Buchholz, who hadn’t seen the column until late Wednesday afternoon, seemed genuinely perplexed by the ongoing conversation.
He explained that even after the start against the Blue Jays, his routine of using the rosin on his left arm didn’t change. Buchholz also said that he has not been contacted directly by either Morris or Hayhurst.
The righty turned in a solid performance Monday, striking out nine while allowing four runs over six innings. Buchholz began Wednesday with the fourth-best ERA in the majors (1.60), while having tied Felix Hernandez for the most innings (50 2/3).
“If it’s not a big deal to the guys who are hitting, and they’re not complaining about it … Rosin is on the back of the mound to get a grip on the ball. That’s what it’s used for,” he said. “If people find ways to get a grip on the baseball … If nobody has ever touched a Major League Baseball, most of the time it’s really slick for the simple fact they rub it with that mud and when it sits in a bag all of it feels is like a ball of dust. If it’s going to your mouth and wiping it off to get a grip on the ball, or going to your arm because you have rosin on your arm, or put the rosin on your arm, that’s what it’s meant for.
“Rosin or anything sticky on my arm isn’t going to make you throw a pitch where you want to throw.”
Part of the frustration for Buchholz revolves around the timing of the accusations, which coincide with one of the best runs of the pitcher’s career.
“To have somebody I’ve never talked to say that I’m out there cheating is sort of doing me an injustice,” he said.
- PawSox activate Jackie Bradley, Jr. from disabled list
- Weekly Notes: De La Rosa, Betts take center stage
- Cup of Coffee: Shaw leads 18-hit attack in Sea Dogs rout
- Cup of Coffee: Gedman, big Salem seventh key system’s only win
- Christian Vazquez’s new focus at the plate starting to pay off
- Cup of Coffee: Augliera dominant in Salem victory
- Players of the Week, May 6-12: Rubby De La Rosa and Mookie Betts
- Cup of Coffee: Streaks continue for Mookie Betts, Chris Martin
- SoxProspects Video of the Week: Anthony Ranaudo
- Ranaudo's 2013 resurgance continues with six shutout innings