Red Sox Notes: Clay Buchholz Giving Reason To Be Optimistic About 2015


Sep 12, 2014

Clay BuchholzIt was the Kansas City Royals — not the Boston Red Sox — who looked like the last-place team Thursday.

The Red Sox defeated the Royals 6-3 in the opener of a four-game series at Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City committed three errors in a contest that included its share of sloppy moments.

There are a few reasons for the Red Sox to be optimistic about Thursday’s victory, though. Those reasons and more are firmly entrenched below.

— Clay Buchholz is beginning to salvage his roller-coaster season, offering plenty of hope for 2015.

There were points this year when it looked like Buchholz would never find his way. It even was reasonable to wonder what his future held in Boston. But while Buchholz still is prone to a shaky outing every now and then, he suddenly looks like a confident pitcher who could become a very big part of the Red Sox’s potential return to contention next season.

“When he’s on the mound and pitching as he’s capable, he’s an elite pitcher in the league,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after Thursday’s win. “He’s a tremendous member of the rotation, he was a year ago and we fully expect him to be going forward.”

Buchholz allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits over 6 1/3 innings Thursday. He struck out seven, walked three and threw 106 pitches (66 strikes) en route to his third straight win.

Buchholz owns a 2.10 ERA and 0.80 WHIP over his last four starts, during which he has 22 strikeouts and seven walks. The 30-year-old has six quality starts in his last seven outings.

Buchholz’s ERA when he landed on the disabled list in late May was 7.02. It’s now down to 5.19.

— Tommy Layne, Junichi Tazawa and Edward Mujica combined for 2 2/3 perfect innings of relief.

— Will Middlebrooks offered another reason for optimism. The beleaguered third baseman produced his sixth multihit game of 2014 — his first since Aug. 29 — while hitting the ball hard three times.

Middlebrooks’ performance against the Royals could be an aberration given his frustrating season offensively, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. His progress obviously is worth monitoring down the stretch.

— Mookie Betts had two hits and scored two runs atop the order. Don’t be surprised if he’s a leadoff candidate next season. He clearly has the skill set.

— Xander Bogaerts singled, walked and scored a run as he continues to swing a hot stick.

The 21-year-old shortstop is starting to look more and more comfortable in the field, too.

— Jackie Bradley Jr.’s trip to Triple-A hasn’t yielded any improvement offensively.

Bradley went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He also grounded into a double play.

Bradley is 0-for-8 since returning to the Red Sox as a September call-up.

— David Ortiz notched his 99th RBI of the season. He’s now one RBI shy of reaching the 30-homer/100-RBI mark for the eighth time.

Ortiz is set to pass Ted Williams (seven) for the most such seasons in franchise history.

— Yoenis Cespedes was struck on the belt by a pitch in the third inning. He tripled in the ninth inning.

— The Pawtucket Red Sox dropped Game 3 of their best-of-five Governors’ Cup series against the Durham Bulls.

Rusney Castillo sat out but is expected to play in Game 4 on Friday.

Previous Article

MLB Releases 2014 Postseason Schedule; World Series Kicks Off Oct. 21

Next Article

Will Middlebrooks Finishing Strong Would Be Major Red Sox Development

Picked For You