Daily Dose: High Five for Buchholz

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Clay Buchholz pitched his way into the Red Sox’s postseason rotation by going 7-3 with a 3.21 ERA through 14 starts, but turned in a disastrous outing Tuesday against the Blue Jays. Buchholz served up a career-high five homers after allowing a total of seven long balls through his first 84 innings this year, coughing up seven runs as his ERA rose nearly 20 percent.
Two of those homers came off the bat of Adam Lind, who chased Buchholz from the game and later took reliever Takashi Saito deep for his third blast of the night. Lind is fifth in the league with a .932 OPS, hitting .305 with 35 homers, 46 doubles, and 114 RBIs to show that his .318/.380/.509 line in the minors was no fluke despite posting a modest .745 OPS through his first 195 games with Toronto.
While the Red Sox clinched the Wild Card anyway thanks to the Rangers’ loss a few hours later, here are some other notes from around baseball …


* Josh Hamilton’s season officially came to an end Tuesday as the Rangers shut him down with a pinched nerve in his back. Hamilton’s first season in Texas was a great one, as he hit .304/.371/.530 with 32 homers and a league-leading 130 RBIs to rank seventh in the MVP balloting, but he was healthy enough for only 89 games this year while hitting .268/.315/.426 with 10 homers and 54 RBIs.
* Philadelphia’s much-maligned and ever-changing closer situation may finally have found a little bit of stability, as Ryan Madson followed up Sunday’s four-out save with a six-out save Tuesday. He certainly hasn’t been perfect when handed ninth-inning duties, but Madson has clearly been the Phillies’ best reliever all season with a 3.18 ERA and 76/21 K/BB ratio in 76.1 innings. He can do the job if they stick with him.
* Tuesday morning reports surfaced that Miguel Angel Sano had lowered his asking price after MLB was unable to verify his age and Tuesday night the Twins signed the 16-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic for $3.15 million. Considered by many to be the top international prospect available this year before questions about his age became the big story, Sano turned down offers from the Orioles and Pirates.
AL Quick Hits: Mark Teixeira homered in a comeback win Tuesday and leads the AL with 39 homers and 121 RBIs … Brian Roberts smacked his 56th double Tuesday to set a new MLB single-season record for switch-hitters … Minnesota and Detroit split Tuesday’s crucial doubleheader, with both games decided by a run … Scott Kazmir was a last-minute scratch from Tuesday’s start, but manager Mike Scioscia insisted that he’s physically fine … Jack Wilson (heal) has been shut for the year after hitting .224 with one homer in 31 games for the Mariners … Carl Crawford set a career-high Tuesday with his 60th steal, but only 16 have come in the second half … J.D. Drew went 3-for-4 with a homer Tuesday and now ranks second among AL outfielders with an .898 OPS … Jake Peavy’s final start has been pushed back to Friday against the Tigers lineup that he blanked for seven frames last time out … Josh Beckett (back) is on track to make his scheduled start Friday.
NL Quick Hits: Derrek Lee rejoined the lineup Tuesday after missing three starts with neck spasms, but exited early after fouling a ball off his foot … Tim Hudson struggled Tuesday as the Braves’ seven-game winning streak ended … Jamie Moyer might not be ready for the playoffs after straining his groin Tuesday … Aramis Ramirez missed Tuesday’s game because of shoulder soreness … Homer Bailey threw seven innings of one-run ball Tuesday, striking out seven with one walk … Ian Desmond homered and doubled Tuesday, and is hitting .305/.344/.542 in his first taste of MLB … Joel Pineiro was knocked around for seven runs Tuesday, serving up multiple homers for the first time all year … Jay Bruce went deep twice Tuesday, giving him four homers and 16 RBIs in 32 at-bats since coming off the disabled list … J.A. Happ allowed four runs while needing 120 pitches to record 17 outs Tuesday, but still notched his 12th victory … Tuesday’s complete-game shutout was Ryan Dempster’s first since 2001 and he now has a 1.39 ERA in five September starts.

James Shields lasts only 2 2/3 innings, gives up 10 runs to the Mariners

SEATTLE, WA - MAY 31:  Starting pitcher James Shields #33 of the San Diego Padres pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on May 31, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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James Shields has had better afternoons. The Padres’ starter couldn’t make it out of the third inning on Tuesday, ultimately serving up 10 runs on eight hits and four walks with one strikeout in 2 2/3 innings. The Mariners plated one run in the first inning, six in the second, and three in the third against Shields.

The runs came via, in order: a Kyle Seager RBI single, a bases loaded walk to Robinson Cano, a Nelson Cruz two-run single, a three-run Seager home run, and a three-run Seth Smith home run. Things continued to get worse once Shields left, as reliever Luis Perdomo gave up a two-run home run to Franklin Gutierrez in the fourth to make it 12-0. In the fifth, Smith homered again with the bases empty, and Adam Lind later drilled a three-run shot, pushing the score to 16-0.

The White Sox were reportedly discussing a trade involving Shields with the Padres as recently as Sunday. Shields entered Tuesday’s start with a 3.06 ERA and a 56/23 K/BB ratio in 64 2/3 innings. Presumably, a team wouldn’t let one start affect its interest in a player, but Shields’ outing certainly doesn’t help.

Atlanta Braves trade reliever Jason Grilli to the Toronto Blue Jays

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 28: Jason Grilli #39 of the Atlanta Braves throws an eighth inning pitch against the Miami Marlins at Turner Field on May 28, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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Multiple reporters including Robert Murray of Baseball Essential, Mark Bowman of MLB.com and David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution report that the Atlanta Braves are trading reliever Jason Grilli to the Toronto Blue Jays for a prospect. Murray says the prospect is minor league reliever Sean Ratcliffe

Grilli is having a subpar year but was a more or less effective closer last season. For 2016 he’s got a 5.29 ERA in 21 appearances and has a K/BB ratio of 23/13 in 17 innings. Nice strikeout total, but oof those walks. Last year he saved 24 games for a bad Braves team and posted a 2.94 ERA, struck out batters at the same rate and walked many fewer. Maybe a change of scenery and an adjustment would do him good.

Ratcliffe was an 18th round pick in 2013 for Toronto. He has only played in rookie ball and low A. He hasn’t pitched yet in 2016. Nothing in his previous three seasons shouts “great prospect” but you never know.

Jose Bautista: Rougned Odor “tried a hundred percent to hit me in the face.”

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 15:  Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Rangers holds Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays after being punched by Rougned Odor #12 in the eighth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 15, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is still convinced that Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor was “looking for a fight” on May 15, when the two teams butted heads at Globe Life Park. Bautista also believes he deserves credit for not hurting Odor.

Ostensibly, the Rangers were still salty about Bautista’s bat flip during the ALDS last year. In the last game of the series — and the clubs’ last regular season meeting — on May 15, pitcher Matt Bush hit Bautista in the ribs with a fastball. When Justin Smoak hit a ground ball prime for a double play attempt, Bautista slid hard into Odor receiving the feed at second base. Odor then punched Bautista cleanly in the face, and the benches emptied.

Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated has the quotes:

“Was [Odor] out to play baseball that day? Maybe partly,” Bautista told Verducci. “Part of me also thinks that he was looking for a fight.”

[…]

“I could have hit him,” Bautista said. “I could have hurt him. I chose not to. My cleats were down. I slid through the bag. Was it late? Yes, a hundred percent. But what can I do after they hit me? Should I ask my manager to let me pitch, which he is never going to let me do? Like, what am I supposed to do? Just sit there and take it?”

[…]

“I’ve been playing baseball for a long time,” Bautista said. “I know exactly what he was trying to do when he threw the ball. He tried a hundred percent to hit me in the face. And it’s not the first time he’s done it against me or some of my teammates. And there’s video to prove that.”

Bautista received a one-game suspension which was upheld upon review. Odor’s eight-game suspension was reduced to seven games which Bautista believes was “unfounded” and “unfair.”

What’s on Tap: Previewing Tuesday’s action

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 25: Starting pitcher Steven Matz #32 of the New York Mets works the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 25, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Welcome back to normalcy. Most of us were treated to a three-day holiday weekend for Memorial Day. Hopefully you spent it doing what makes you happy.

We have two afternoon starts today between the Astros and Diamondbacks, and the Padres and Mariners. The focus tonight will be on the fading White Sox, losers of seven consecutive games. They lost three out of four to the Indians, were swept by the Royals in heartbreaking fashion, and lost Monday’s series opener to the Mets behind seven shutout frames from the struggling Matt Harvey.

In tonight’s 7:05 game at Citi Field, the White Sox have to contend with Steven Matz, who has been nothing short of brilliant in eight starts this season. The lefty owns a 2.36 ERA with a 50/9 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. In a rotation that has heavy star power in Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, and Jacob deGrom, it’s easy to overlook Matz. Meanwhile, the White Sox will counter with Mat Latos. Latos got off to a great start, putting up a 0.74 ERA over his first four starts. In the five starts since, however, has a 7.09 ERA. The advanced stats made Latos’ fall to earth easy to predict — overall, he has a rather unimpressive 26/18 K/BB ratio — but he was giving the White Sox rotation longevity after Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.

The rest of Tuesday’s action…

Texas Rangers (Colby Lewis) @ Cleveland Indians (Corey Kluber), 6:10 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox (Eduardo Rodriguez) @ Baltimore Orioles (Kevin Gausman), 7:05 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (Joe Ross) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Aaron Nola), 7:05 PM EDT

New York Yankees (CC Sabathia) @ Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ), 7:07 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates (Gerrit Cole) @ Miami Marlins (Jose Fernandez), 7:10 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants (Jake Peavy) @ Atlanta Braves (Matt Wisler), 7:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers (Scott Kazmir) @ Chicago Cubs (Jake Arrieta), 8:05 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Mike Leake) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Wily Peralta), 8:10 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays (Drew Smyly) @ Kansas City Royals (Dillon Gee), 8:15 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds (Jon Moscot) @ Colorado Rockies (Jon Gray), 8:40 PM EDT

Detroit Tigers (Anibal Sanchez) @ Los Angeles Angels (Hector Santiago), 10:05 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins (Tyler Duffey) @ Oakland Athletics (Eric Surkamp), 10:05 PM EDT