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?
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.