Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz made his first start since June 8 on Tuesday night versus the Rays.
And it went as well as anyone could have expected.
Featuring a steady 93 mph fastball and a very sharp changeup, Buchholz tossed five scoreless innings at Tropicana Field, yielding only three hits and one walk while striking out six Rays batters. He was lifted from the game at 74 pitches — 44 of which were strikes.
Boston’s bullpen did its part, with Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara combining to keep the shoutout alive in an eventual 2-0 victory.
Buchholz is now 10-0 with a 1.61 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 87 strikeouts in 89 1/3 total innings this season.
The first-place Red Sox are leading the second-place Rays by 8 1/2 games in the American League East.
Phillies manager Joe Girardi told reporters today that Andrew McCutchen will not be ready to play to start the season. McCutchen is still recovering from the ACL tear he suffered last year. Girardi said that McCutchen hasn’t suffered a setback, but is simply not on a timetable that would allow him to play on Opening Day.
Obviously, this is a bit of a blow for the Phillies. McCutchen isn’t the MVP-level player he once ways, but he’s still a difference-maker and can be a spark plug for an offense. He was off to a .256/.378/.457 start in his 262 plate appearances before the injury struck. His continued stint on the injured list opens up everyday at-bats for Jay Bruce, whom the Phillies traded for during the 2019 season to help fill the hole caused by McCutchen’s injury. Bruce moving up the depth chart opens up a roster spot for someone like Neil Walker, Nick Martini or Kyle Garlick to make the team.
Girardi said that the Phillies expect McCutchen back at some point in April, so he hopefully won’t be on the shelf too much longer. Still, it stinks that we’re going to have wait longer for one of the more fun players in baseball to suit up again.