BOSTON — Clay Buchholz might have been pitching for his job, and the interview certainly didn’t go well.
The Red Sox starter actually opened Thursday’s game against the Colorado Rockies strong, as he pitched three perfect innings and his stuff looked good. But on his second time through the Rockies’ order, Buchholz imploded, giving up three two-run homers over the fourth and fifth innings to put the Red Sox in a 6-2 hole.
And when John Farrell was asked if the team would have to reassess Buchholz’s spot in the rotation, the Red Sox skipper said there’d be some talking to do.
“Yeah, (Red Sox president) Dave (Dombrowski) and I and (pitching coach) Carl (Willis), we always have conversations about every guy, so this would be no different,” Farrell said. “We know that Eddie (Rodriguez is) soon to, or ready probably to come back to us, but there’s been no decision made as of right now.”
Rodriguez is set to pitch a bullpen Friday and his next rehab start is scheduled for Sunday in Pawtucket. But he pitched seven innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts in Triple-A on Tuesday, which certainly won’t help Buchholz. Not to mention, Buchholz’s troubles are with location, as he feels fine, is mechanically sound and his three homers Thursday came on three different pitches — a curveball, a fastball and a changeup.
“When you grade out the stuff, he’s still throwing in the low 90s,” Farrell said. “He’s touched 94, 95 (mph) on occasion. You see the finish to the secondary pitches that are there, and yet when not there, that’s when the issue has risen. This game is a huge game of confidence, and I would venture to say Clay’s is a bit shaken. So, it’s not a physical ailment here.”
Buchholz knows he’s not pulling his weight, too.
“I’m not demoralized. The team’s still winning,” Buchholz said. “I’m basically the one that’s struggling. The only one that’s struggling. I guess it’s better that way than to have three out of five guys struggling. The other guys are doing a really good job of picking up the slack that I’m leaving behind. You figure it has to change sooner or later. I feel as good as I’ve felt in two-and-a-half, three years, so I’ve got to find a way to get through it.”
He won’t blame anyone, either, if he does lose his spot.
“That’s out of my pay grade,” Buchholz said. “I can’t worry about that. I’m here to pitch. If I don’t have a spot, that’s part of it. There’s a saying, if you don’t like it, pitch better, so I guess that’s what it comes down to.”
Here are some more notes from Thursday’s loss.
— Jackie Bradley Jr.’s 29-game hitting streak ended Thursday, but that means Xander Bogaerts now has the longest streak in Major League Baseball at 19 games after he singled in the first inning.
— David Ortiz set some records (again) with a two-run home run and a double. Big Papi’s homer was his 208th at Fenway, tying Jim Rice for third on the all-time list there. His two extra-base hits passed Ty Cobb for 13th place on the all-time list and he also passed Wade Boggs for sole possession of sixth on Fenway’s all-time runs list with 615.
— The Red Sox’s offense cooled off Thursday, but they’re still jumping out to early leads. They’ve scored 51 first-inning runs in 47 games and have scored multiple runs in the opening frame 19 times this season.
— “Dog Day at Fenway” is happening Monday, June 27, when fans can come to Fenway Park with their dogs from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The big concourse will have a “dog park” with pet-friendly businesses, activities and water bowls, and fans and their furry friends can go onto the warning track to take photos in front of the Green Monster. Fans also can take photos with the World Series trophies.
Tickets are on sale for $10 for adults, and children under 14 and dogs can get in free. You can get them at redsox.com/dogdayatfenway.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via May 26, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz (11) on the mound as they take on the Colorado Rockies in the fifth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports