Not everyone thrilled with Boston's pitching depth

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It’s a wonderful problem to have when you’re blessed with too much
pitching. In fact, you could argue that it’s no problem at all. That
it’s impossible to be blessed with too many competent hurlers. The
Boston Red Sox are testing that theory.

The Red Sox already have a rotation consisting of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Brad Penny and Tim Wakefield.

And on top of that, John Smoltz is set to come off the disabled list
soon. Smoltz reportedly offered to take a bullpen role, but management
is having none of that. They certainly don’t need a closer, and view
Smoltz as a valuable postseason asset as a starter.

Clay Buchholz is getting restless in Pawtucket


So what should Boston do? Tony Massarotti does a great job breaking down the likeliest possibilities, ranging from putting Dice-K on the DL (seems like a good idea), to moving to a six-man rotation (unlikely).

While Theo Epstein and Terry Francona decide what to do, they might
be interested to hear what Clay Buchholz has to say about the matter.

Buchholz apparently is getting tired of dominating Triple-A hitters at
Pawtucket, and while he stopped short of demanding a trade, he’s
starting to sound a little restless.

“Whenever they come to a problem they seem like they find a way to
fix it without me being in the picture. It is what it is. It’s
frustrating at times but I’m going out every fifth day here, trying to
help this team win and trying to get better every day I go out. …

“I want to be in the big leagues and I do want to go somewhere where I’ll be able to play and pitch every fifth day.”

Buchholz has a case, as does his teammate Michael Bowden. If not 100
percent major-league ready, the pair are certainly running out of
things to accomplish in the minors. Their numbers at Pawtucket:

  • Buchholz: 4-0, 1.75 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 15 walks and 59 strikeouts in 67 innings.
  • Bowden: 3-3, 2.48 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 22 walks and 42 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings.

    In contrast to Buchholz, Bowden sounds content for now to remain lost in the logjam.

    “I’d rather stay in the minors an extra year or so to play for Boston, to play in Boston at Fenway with that group of guys.”

    I wonder how long Bowden will keep singing that tune.

  • The Astros gave the Yankees an opening. Keuchel and Verlander will try to close the door.

    Associated Press
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    If Game 4 of the ALCS had been even remotely conventional, it’d stand at 3-1 in favor of Houston right now. The Yankees’ starter pitched well but got no run support. A mighty Astros team with an ordinarily good closer in Ken Giles had a 4-0 lead in the late innings. As the Yankees set out to mount a comeback, a base runner fell down in between first and second and should’ve been dead to rights. This is playoff baseball, however, so stuff, as they say, happens. The runner was safe, the closer struggled, the Yankees rallied and now we’re tied 2-2.

    But are we even at 2-2?

    On paper, no, because the Astros now will send Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander out in Games 5 and 6, and that gives them a clear advantage. Keuchel dominated the Yankees in Game 1, tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out ten batters. Verlander struck out 13 batters in a 124-pitch complete game in which he allowed only a single run. Beyond the mere facts of the box scores, however, the Yankees have looked profoundly overmatched by both of the Astros’ aces, in this postseason and on other occasions on which they’ve faced off against them. Most notably in the 2015 wild-card game at Yankee Stadium when Keuchel pitched six scoreless innings in the 3-0 victory.

    But remember: stuff happens.

    Stuff like Aaron Judge‘s and Gary Sanchez‘s bats waking up. The two most important sluggers in the Bombers lineup combined to go 3-for-6 with two doubles, a homer, a walk and five RBI in last night’s victory. Each of them had been silent for the first three games of the series but if they’re heating up, the Yankees will be a lot harder to pitch to.

    Stuff like Masahiro Tanaka showing that he can tame the Astros’ lineup. Which he did pretty well in Game 1, giving up only two runs on four hits in six innings. He was overshadowed by Keuchel in that game, but it was a good performance against a strong lineup in a hostile environment. Tanaka pitches much better at Yankee Stadium than he does on the road, so don’t for a second think that the Astros bats will have an easy time of it today.

    Stuff like the Yankees bullpen still being the Yankees bullpen. Yes, the Astros got to David Robertson yesterday, but it’s still a strong, strong group that gives the Yankees a clear advantage if the game is close late or if they hold a lead.

    All of which is to say that we have ourselves a series, friends. While, 48 hours ago, it seemed like we were on our way to an Astros coronation, the Yankees have shown up in a major way in Games 3 and 4. If you’re an Astros fan you should feel pretty confident with Keuchel and Verlander heading into action over the next two games, but we have learned that absolutely nothing is guaranteed in the postseason.