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?
The Yankees signed first-round draft pick Clarke Schmidt and second-round pick Matt Sauer on Saturday, per a team announcement. Schmidt, a right-hander from the University of South Carolina, is set to earn a signing bonus of $2,184,300. According to MLB.com’s Oliver Macklin, that’s much lower than the typical $3+ million allocated for a No. 16 overall pick. The opposite is true for Sauer, whose projected $2.5 million signing bonus tops the suggested $1.2 million reserved for a No. 54 pick.
Schmidt, 21, boasts an impressive four-pitch repertoire and profiles as a front-end or mid-rotation starter, according to reports from Yankees’ VP of Domestic Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer and ESPN’s Keith Law, among others. He carried a 4-2 record through nine starts in 2017 and turned in a 1.34 ERA before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery last month to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow. While the Yankees won’t see him pitch at any level until late 2018, they seem confident in his makeup and ability to rebound over the next couple of years.
Fellow right-hander and Righetti High School senior Matt Sauer is a different story altogether. The 18-year-old hurler appears destined for the bullpen with a polished fastball-slider combo and a promising curveball and changeup. He dazzled on the mound this year, going 9-1 with an 0.98 ERA and two shutouts over 78 1/3 innings. While the Yankees seem most interested in his pitching skills, Sauer showed some pop at the plate as well, touting a .427 average with 24 RBI through 135 plate appearances.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.