Tag: Clay Buchholz

Juan Nieves Red Sox

Red Sox fire pitching coach Juan Nieves


Boston has found the fall guy–or at least the first fall guy–for a pitching staff that ranks dead last among AL teams in runs allowed, firing pitching coach Juan Nieves.

Nieves has held the job since 2013 and Boston won the World Series in his first season, but since the beginning of last year the Red Sox rank 12th among AL teams in runs allowed.

There were plenty of question marks attached to Boston’s rotation coming into the season because of the lack of a clear-cut No. 1 starter, but no one could have expected Justin Masterson, Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, and Wade Miley all to have ERAs above (and several way above) 5.00.

No replacement has been named yet.

Isn’t Deflategate just a glorified pine tar incident?

Deflated Football

Before you say anything: yes, I know football ain’t my bailiwick. But if you think I’m posting about this just because football is big and popular and anything Deflategate-related is guaranteed to attract eyeballs and pageviews, well, um, that’s where you’re right.


I’m watching this stuff from way over here in baseball land I can’t help but think that this is nothing more than Michael Pineda and pine tar. Or Clay Buchholz and Bullfrog sunscreen. Or some knucklehead with a corked bat. Cheating? Sure. Probably something deserving of a suspension and a fine? Oh, totally. But not exactly the sort of thing that causes the world to stop.

Yet it is here, it seems. It’s sucking up all of the media oxygen and causing the usual members of the sanctimony brigade to talk about Tom Brady’s legacy and how it negates everything he ever did on a football field. This seems ridiculous to me. Hell, the whole idea of “legacy” the way it’s described in these cases seems ridiculous. All I know for sure is that if people like Bill Plaschke and Juliet Macur are clutching their pearls over something, there’s a good chance it’s an overblown b.s. of a controversy.

Anyway, someone — sincerely, because again, football ain’t my bailiwick — tell me why this isn’t a pine tar case? Is it because the Patriots are seen as serial cheaters? Is it because they have won a lot and Tom Brady is famous? Do we have this same level of outrage if it’s Joe Flacco or someone deflating balls? Inquiring, amused minds want to know.

Justin Verlander is a bit fed up with social media critics

justin verlander getty

Justin Verlander is hurt and isn’t pitching. But he hasn’t crawled into a hole and died. His arm is hurt, sure, but he’s still capable of, you know, going out to eat and spending time with his girlfriend, all of which are things literally 100% of ballplayers and almost every other single person in America does, more or less, when they have a minor injury.

But when you’re a baseball player people expect you to wear a hairshirt when you’re injured. To look dour and never be out in the world. Clay Buchholz got a lot of crap thrown at him a few years back for showing up at a charitable event and not locking himself in his basement following an illness. Verlander, too, has been catching flak for actually living his life.

On Instagram the other day, Verlander had a message for those folks:


He expanded on all of that to Lynn Henning of the Detroit News, showing that he’s taking it in a bit more stride than that post suggests he is. But really, you can’t blame him for being fed up with that kind of thing. Ballplayers are already in a bubble. That they’re expected to act in certain, clearly artificial was for the sole purpose of pleasing some irrationally demanding fans is about eight bridges too far.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Jeff Francoeur

Phillies 5, Braves 2: Of course Jeff Francoeur comes back to Atlanta, riding an 0-for-19 streak, and knocks the cover off the ball. This is the place of his birth. Where he was forged like steel into a machine that destroys garbage pitching like that he faced last night. Frenchy was 4-for-5 with a double, a triple and a couple driven in. A big night all around for ex-Braves as Aaron Harang allowed one run over six. Hell, I half expected Kyle Davies to pitch a couple scoreless frames.

Rays 5, Red Sox 1: Jake Odorizzi tames the Sox’ lineup, scattering seven hits. A lineup without Hanley Ramirez, who left in the first inning with a shoulder injury. Clay Buchholz continued to struggle, giving up five runs in six and a third. After the game he said “You go out there and try to throw a lot of strikes, not walk guys.” If you read that with a lot of emphasis on the “you,” as if he’s contrasting all other pitchers with himself, it sounds like a fairly accurate description of much of his past couple of seasons.

Rangers 2, Astros 1: The winning streak is over. A Jake Smolinski RBI single in the eighth and then a Robinson Chirinos sac fly in the ninth was all the Rangers needed because a first inning Evan Gattis sac fly was all the Astros got. The streak stops at 10 despite a fine outing from April AL Pitcher of the Month Dallas Keuchel (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 8K).

Mariners 3, Angels 2: The AL Player of the Month had a decent night too, with Nelson Cruz going yard to snap a scoreless tie in the seventh.That’s his 14th on the year, and Cruz is on an 87-homer pace. I am inclined to believe he won’t keep it up, but man, I don’t think most folks expected him to even keep up his 2014 pace this year.  Felix Hernandez, whose greatness is rarely confined to single month, was excellent (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 8K).

Giants 2, Padres 0: Madison Bumgarner tossed no-hit ball into the seventh and shutout ball into the eighth and the pen locked it down. In his last two starts he has beaten Clayton Kershaw and Tyson Ross and shut down the Dodgers and Padres’ potent lineups. He’s pretty good when you think about it some.

Nationals 6, Marlins 4: A comeback thanks to four in the eighth. The offensive charge was led by Yunel Escobar who had a career-high five hits. Ian Desmond hit a homer during that eighth inning. Tanner Roark got his first career save.

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 1: Russell Martin knocked in a run with a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning. We usually say “against his old mates,” and then I usually say “well maybe they weren’t his old mates because teams turn their rosters over so much” but then I remembered it was the Yankees and, yeah, they are his old mates because it’s been mostly the same guys there forever.

Brewers 4, Dodgers 3: Craig Counsell is now the all-time leader in winning percentage among Milwaukee Brewers managers. His new club rallied for three runs in the eighth inning off of a tiring Clayton Kershaw and a less-than-jake Chris Hatcher. Gomezes Hector and Carlos helped key the rally, the latter with a homer the former with an RBI double.

Cardinals 10, Cubs 9: A five-run first inning for the Cubs was met with a four-run first inning for he Cards. Having lost a five-run lead early, the Cubs then went and lost a four-run lead later. when St. Louis rallied in the sixth and seventh. Mark Reynolds hit a grand slam in the first rally. The rally in the sixth and seventh was a little more sustained. The Cardinals’ 19-6 record is their best start since 1900. And it’s not like they haven’t had a couple other halfway decent squads in the past 115 years.

Twins 8, Athletics 7: Another 4-0 first inning lead blown, this one by Oakland. The big hit: a two-out, three-run homer by Torii Hunter in the sixth to break the 5-5 tie. After that the A’s tried to claw back but couldn’t quite get there. That’s five wins in a row for Minnesota.

Diamondbacks vs. Rockies: POSTPONED:All the rain

All the rain
Cover me now
All the rain
All the rain
Cover me now

Masahiro Tanaka struggled again

tanaka getty

Lost in the Yankees rocking Clay Buchholz and the Red Sox’s bullpen for 14 runs Sunday night is that Masahiro Tanaka had another unimpressive start as he continues to keep pitching and avoid Tommy John elbow surgery.

Tanaka completed five innings, which is three more outs than he got versus the Blue Jays on Opening Day, but he allowed four runs, struck out four batters compared to three walks, and got just five swinging strikes on 97 pitches. And his velocity was again underwhelming, with an average of 91 miles per hour on his fastball.

Through two starts last season Tanaka had 18 strikeouts and 34 swinging strikes versus 1 walk.

Through two starts this season Tanaka has 10 strikeouts and 17 swinging strikes versus 5 walks.

The good news is that he’s healthy and has shown he can certainly still get big-league hitters out with his diminished raw stuff, but so he looks nothing like the guy who went 13-5 with 2.77 ERA and 141/25 K/BB ratio in 136 innings as a rookie.