Two notable former Boston Red Sox — pitcher Clay Buchholz and outfielder Daniel Nava — debuted Thursday for the Philadelphia Philles. One shined. One didn’t.
Buchholz had a forgettable first start for the Phillies, allowing four earned runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out three over five innings. The right-hander didn’t suffer the loss as Philadelphia fell to the Cincinnati Reds 7-4 at Great American Ball Park, but he did little to inspire confidence in those curious to see whether he’ll bounce back after an offseason trade from Boston.
Take this analysis from Philly.com’s Matt Gelb, for example:
Clay Buchholz, who employed the pace of a tired snail, almost could not survive five innings. His fastball lacked life. He permitted four runs on seven hits and two walks, and it could have been much worse had he not faced the lineup of a rebuilding team.
“The Phillies made a $13.5 million wager on Buchholz, 32, as a bounce-back candidate for the rotation. His first impression was not ideal.
Meghan Montemurro of The News Journal wasn’t too impressed, either, as she wrote that Buchholz “doesn’t appear confident in the effectiveness of his fastball” and even suggested the Phillies consider April a “month-long tryout” for the 32-year-old. Here’s more from Montemurro:
Buchholz was fortunate to face a mediocre lineup in Thursday’s series finale against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Had he pitched a day later and seen the vaunted Washington Nationals, the 32-year-old righthander would’ve had a very brief outing.
Clearly, Buchholz, who spent his first 10 seasons with Boston, didn’t hit the ground running in the City of Brotherly Love.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Phillies, though. Nava, who batted second and played left field, homered in his first two at-bats with the club. He also drew a walk and totaled three RBIs.
Nava, who appeared in 424 games over parts of five seasons with the Red Sox, totaled just two home runs in 314 major league plate appearances between 2015 and 2016. Thursday’s performance marked the first multi-homer game of his career. In other words, Nava, unlike Buchholz, made a damn good first impression.
One out of two isn’t bad, right?
Thumbnail photo via David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports Images