Red Sox Live Blog: Clay Buchholz Hit Hard as Marlins Rout Red Sox


Mar 24, 2011

Red Sox Live Blog: Clay Buchholz Hit Hard as Marlins Rout Red Sox

Postgame, Marlins 15-7: Just one of those days, it seems. The ball was blowing out. Clay Buchholz missed on a few pitches and the Marlins made him pay in a big way.

Hard to imagine that the Red Sox led this one 5-2 at one point.

Anyway, the bus was pulling out just moments after the game ended, prepared for the long trip west and a chance to reset. The next game will be at 7:05 p.m. Thursday at home against Toronto, led by former Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell.

We’ll be following all the action for you in that one. Thanks for checking us out today.

Final, Marlins 15-7: A tough afternoon for Clay Buchholz as the Marlins pound out 20 hits and send the Red Sox to their seventh straight Grapefruit League defeat.

Off to the clubhouse. Back soon.

End 8th, Marlins 15-6: Three outs to play with as the Red Sox look to avoid a seventh straight loss. New Englanders move to the edge of their collective seats.

Unfortunately for anyone who takes this stuff seriously, the Sox will face Marlins closer Leo Nunez in the ninth.

Mid 8th, Marlins 15-6: Three Red Sox hitters went to the plate in the eighth. All three walked back to the dugout a strikeout victim.

Brandon Duckworth will start the eighth. To my knowledge, the only other pitcher brought along was Randy Williams.

End 7th, Marlins 15-6: Brandon Duckworth holds the Marlines off the board for the first time since the first inning.

Nothing but minor leaguers left in this one. The Sox have had some weird late-game rallies with their youth this spring. So, there’s that.

Mid 7th, Marlins 15-6: Nothin’ doin’ for the Red Sox in the seventh. Brandon Duckworth will pitch the seventh for Boston.

End 6th, Marlins 15-6: The Marlins get to Matt Albers for a run in the sixth but he struck out two and has 13 in 11 innings this spring. Has shown an excellent fastball all month.

Just to frighten those of you who place importance on spring training results, the Red Sox have been outscored 58-25 in their last six-plus games. Barring a rally, this will be their seventh straight loss.

Mid 6th, Marlins 14-6: Back from the clubhouse and the score is now 14-6. The Marlins tacked on three more off Michael Bowden.

Mike Stanton had another RBI in that rally and has seven overall.

Matt Albers, who is with the team, contrary to what you might’ve read yesterday, is out to pitch the sixth. He got the last out of the fifth.

Clay Buchholz said that he felt as good as he has all spring and simply paid dearly for every mistake he made. Some days mistakes are popped to second, others they are hit a country mile. On Thursday, it was the latter.

More on Clay a little later.

3:03 p.m.: Off to hear from Clay. Back soon.

Mid 5th, Marlins 11-6: My apologies for having Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s stats wrong earlier. He is now 3-for-3 with four RBIs after he drove in a run with a double in the fifth.

Even the scoreboard is having issues with all the hits and runs. Currently, multiple columns are incorrect.

Anyway, Clay Buchholz is done. He gave up 11 runs — six earned — on 11 hits (four home runs) in four innings. He walked one, struck out five and hit a man. 82 pitches, 54 for strikes.

2:43 p.m.: A pair of extremely weak singles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie get the Red Sox going to start the fifth and end the afternoon for Javier Vazquez. Pitching change here at Roger Dean Stadium.

End 4th, Marlins 11-5: Well, only one of the runs was earned.

Florida strikes for six more against Clay Buchholz, five of the runs coming on homers by Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison.

Stanton has two homers and six RBIs in the last two innings. Oh, by the way, this is his Grapefruit League debut (quad).

Michael Bowden was up and throwing. If that’s it for Buchholz he will be charged with six earned runs on 11 hits. A throwing error by Jarrod Saltalamacchia (his third of the spring) helped the Marlins keep hitting, and they took advantage.

Mid 4th, 5-5: Javier Vazquez engineers a perfect inning in the fourth. It’s just the second time either pitcher has gone 1-2-3.

Of the 12 hits in this one, seven have been for extra bases.

End 3rd, 5-5: Yikes. Not a good day to be a pitcher.

Four home runs have already been hit, the latest an absolute bomb to left-center field by Mike Stanton off Clay Buchholz.

That shot came with no outs. Buchholz gave up a leadoff single to Omar Infante and a double to the wall in center by Hanley Ramirez, although it looked like Jacoby Ellsbury may have lost the ball in the sun at the last moment.

Both pitchers will get their pitch count up, regarless of the results, so expect some pretty ugly lines if they keep serving them up like this. Buchholz said after his last start that he didn’t have command of anything. Certainly seems to be the case today. We’ll see what he says.

Mid 3rd, Red Sox 5-2: Balls are flying out of this joint right now, which can happen with Javier Vazquez on the mound.

That’s not meant to take anything away from Jacoby Ellsbury, who crushed his third home run of the spring with a man on in the third. Or from Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who followed up his two-run homer in the second with a two-run double in the third, a shot to the opposite field that missed getting out of here by inches.

Ellsbury’s average is up to .370 (17-for-46).

One interesting note on Ellsbury from pregame. Terry Francona was talking a bit about how Ellsbury’s throws from the outfield are much stronger than before. Francona doesn’t necessarily think Ellsbury’s arm is so much better, but that his center fielder has more strength throughout his body and has learned to use his legs and other parts much more when throwing.

That’s the second time this spring that someone has asked about Ellsbury in general and received a rave review of something that has more to do with defense (bench coach DeMarlo Hale discussed Ellsbury’s leadership in the outfield). Seems as if they expect great things from him in the field. If his production at the plate this month is any indication, Ellsbury will have an outstanding all-around season.

End 2nd, Marlins 2-1: Not the best of innings for Clay Buchholz, who didn’t have the best of starts his last time out.

Jacoby Ellsbury took away a hit to start the frame with a diving grab in right-center field. Then, Logan Morrison singled and John Buck homered.

Buchholz’s very next pitch was a breaking ball that caught Donnie Murphy in the back.

A sacrifice bunt and pop to short got Buchholz out of the mess.

The Red Sox are currently going through the rotation with their longest starts for each guy before scaling back. Jon Lester and John Lackey were the first two to go through the process, and both went 5 1/3 innings. Buchholz would like to last until the seventh so that he can get that many up-and-downs, but innings like the second won’t help his cause.

Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Jarrod Saltalamacchia finally gets into one here at Roger Dean Stadium.

It was a 2-1 offering from Javier Vazquez that Salty smoked to right, easily clearing the wall near the 350-foot sign.

Since the page is open, I can share our quick interview with Salty, in which we asked him about his bat, something not many people focus on.

End 1st, 0-0: Two strikeouts in the first inning for Clay Buchholz. He did give up a two-out single, but it was to Hanley Ramirez.

Buchholz pulled the string on Mike Stanton to get the youngster swinging for the final out.

Mid 1st, 0-0: David Ortiz is a strikeout victim to end a 1-2-3 first inning for Javier Vazquez.

Clay Buchholz takes the hill for his fifth appearance (fourth start) of the spring. Prior to the game, Terry Francona was asked about Buchholz’s ability to go 200-plus innings this year.

“I always said how Lester’s built [for 200 innings],” Francona said. “I think Buck learned how to work and he will be that guy too. His mechanics are sound, his arm always feels good, he bounced back well.

When asked if he expected Buchholz to reach 200 innings, Francona said, “He better.”

12:11 p.m.: A few news items to pass along as we prepare for another sunny afternoon (the clouds have moved away).

Terry Francona was asked again about the impending bullpen decisions. With several guys throwing today at the minor league complex and two more (Alfredo Aceves and Andrew Miller) going tomorrow, a few more things need to be ironed out.

Francona did say that players options will come into play when making those decisions, as they don’t always want to keep a guy (Scott Atchison comes to mind) who has options because they know they can stash him for depth. Someone without cannot be moved back and forth without being exposed to the waiver wire.

“We certainly have to think about that,” Francona said. “If I said we didn’t that’s a flat-out lie. That’s where Theo comes in and explains..this is what we have, or could have or could lose.”

While many relievers will continue their auditions/preparation in the coming days, the starters will begin the process of toning down for their final start. Today is Clay Buchholz’s big one — he’ll get to or close to 100 pitches. After that Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka will get their long outings. On Sunday, Jon Lester is scheduled to pitch in Sarasota against the Orioles, but he has been given the option of staying behind and pitching at the minor league camp.

The way it breaks down, Beckett will pitch Wednesday in Houston and Matsuzaka will throw a simulated game Thursday morning before the team flies to Arlington for the April 1 opener.

Felix Doubront is among seven guys pitching at the complex today. Francona said the club has yet to determine if he will wind up starting or relieving to begin the year.

“We want to get him healthy first…our main thing is just to make sure he’s healthy,” Francona said.

As for Miller, he may get stretched out in the coming weeks at Triple-A, but no firm decision has been made. “We need to get to that,” Francona said.

Junichi Tazawa (remember him?) has been stretched out and is throwing side sessions. He’ll likely stay behind for extended spring training and could be pitching for Pawtucket later in the year.

We have plenty more, but there is a taco bar right behind me that needs to be explore. Back soon.

11:41 a.m.: We have heard from Terry Francona, who indicated that the Red Sox might be closer to making some roster decisions, but still need to get through the next couple of days when many guys will be throwing at the minor league complex.

“Next couple of days I think a lot of stuff will start sorting itself out,” Francona said.

We will have more from Francona in just a bit.

10:06 a.m.: Greetings from Roger Dean Stadium, where it is partly cloudy and cool, a slight departure from the conditions we have had all month.

There was an intense fog (thick as pea soup, of course) the whole ride across the state, which takes one through rural, inland Floriday and just south of Lake Okeechobee.

One tiny town had a meeting place titled “John Boy Auditorium.” That should give you some idea as to how rural things were.

We will be hearing from Terry Francona in a bit as the Red Sox bus is due to arrive any moment.

As far as news back at the Fort, we learned from’s Rob Bradford that Dennys Reyes will extend his opt-out date a day. He is firmly entrenched in the bullpen battle.

Also, the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman tweeted that Andrew Miller will throw in a minor-league game Friday as he prepares to make his transition to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Also throwing at the minor league complex today is Tim Wakefield, Jonathan Papelbon, Daniel Bard, Felix Doubront, Scott Atchison, Rich Hill and Hideki Okajima. The available innings are just so scarce right now with starters lasting longer in games, so this is normal.

We should have a report as to how each player did a little later on.

9:19 a.m.: Here’s the Sox lineup:

Ellsbury CF
Lowrie SS
Ortiz DH
Youkilis 3B
Saltalamacchia C
Cameron RF
Kalish LF
Sutton 1B
Spears 2B

8 a.m.: The Red Sox will attempt to snap a six-game spring training slide Thursday when they make the long trip to the east side of Florida to take on the Marlins in Jupiter.

Boston has been outscored 43-19 in the relatively meaningless losing streak after a 7-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday. The club enjoyed a rare day off from games on Wednesday.

Clay Buchholz will get the start and is expected to approach the 100-pitch plateau as he gears up for his first regular season start April 3 in Texas. Former Marlin Andrew Miller is among those slated to pitch in relief.

Several regulars will be making the trip for the Red Sox. Adrian Gonzalez, who was 3-for-6 in a minor league game Wednesday, will not.

Javier Vazquez, who struggled with the New York Yankees last year, is on the mound for Florida.
First pitch is 1:05 p.m.

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