There’s no denying, assuming everyone’s healthy, who will take the ball for the Boston Red Sox on Opening Day. Who starts Game 2, however, was up in the air.
Red Sox manager John Farrell all but answered that question Tuesday morning on WEEI’s “The Dennis And Callahan Morning Show,” saying Clay Buchholz “probably” will be the team’s No. 2 starter behind recently signed ace David Price.
Tabbing Buchholz as the No. 2 isn’t exactly surprising, nor is it really that big of a deal when you consider how a pitching rotation often gets broken up one way or another after one turn. But it’s spring training, and games haven’t started, so it’s a natural talking point.
That’s even more prevalent when dealing with Buchholz, a lightning rod among Red Sox fans and media alike. When he’s on, Buchholz has some of the best stuff in the game. However, well-documented issues with injuries and inconsistency leave many wondering whether Buchholz will ever fully realize his seemingly lofty potential.
Farrell is unsurprisingly bullish on the right-hander entering the 2016 season.
“Based on the number of bullpens thrown prior to camp, based on what he’s showing right now, yeah, there’s a feeling, and the view of him, the way he’s throwing the baseball right now, that he’s in a good position to begin the season,” Farrell said on WEEI. “Where that ultimately takes us remains to be seen, but when he’s been on the mound and he’s been effective, he’s in the upper group of pitchers being discussed around baseball, and he’s extremely effective. To me, he’s one of the bigger keys for our overall pitching staff.”
Buchholz’s 2015 season was a pretty perfect illustration of his up-and-down career. He pitched an Opening Day gem, going seven scoreless innings against Philadelphia, only to get shelled in his second outing, allowing nine runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Yankees. Buchholz saw his record dip to 2-6 in late May only to bounce back and win five of his next seven decisions before being shut down for the season after his July 10 start against New York.
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