UPDATE: Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe tells us that Buchholz will indeed start against the Yankees next week.
Apologies for the false alarm. Carry on, everyone.
2:02 PM: First the Yankees miss Dan Haren, now this?
According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, Red Sox manager Terry Francona indicated this morning that Clay Buchholz may miss his scheduled start next Wednesday against the Yankees due to concerns about discomfort in his lower back.
“I think the way he explained it was that it didn’t hurt, but I think it was on his mind that maybe it was going to hurt,” Francona said. “I think he was wondering if he was going to get to a certain point and it was going to grab at him, and it didn’t. I think we want to sit down with him and figure out the best way to go forward, whether it’s in five days or give him a couple extra days.”
Buchholz allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings last night in a no-decision against the Athletics. The 26-year-old right-hander is 4-3 with a 3.82 ERA and 49/26 K/BB ratio over his first 12 starts this season.
Tim Wakefield was scheduled to throw a bullpen session today just in case he’s needed to start against the Bombers next week.
The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.
In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.
The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.
Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”
It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.
It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.