Red Sox manager John Farrell made his regular appearance on the Dale & Holley show with Thornton on Wednesday to discuss the starting rotation and other team news.

John Farrell

John Farrell

Red Sox manager John Farrell made his regular appearance on the Dale & Holley show with Thornton on Wednesday to discuss the starting rotation and other team news. To hear the interview, visit the D&H audio on demand page.

Clay Buchholz has made three spot starts for the Red Sox with both Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez out with injuries, and he has performed well enough to put himself in the running for a permanent spot in the rotation. Farrell said “it probably looks like Clay by default” will return to the bullpen, however, once Wright and Rodriguez are healthy enough to start.

“Setting aside the decision, he’s done a heck of a job in the three starts he’s made for us,” Farrell said. “He seemingly is getting deeper into games, looks stronger as he goes. Steven Wright is going to come off of the DL Friday to make that first start against Kansas City. I think until we get to the bullpen tomorrow with Rodriguez, that will give us a better read on when he slides back in.”

Added Farrell: “The one thing we do have to contend with is with Wright coming back, we’re going to have to make room for him on the roster. If that looks as a reliever going out, then obviously there’s going to be a need in that bullpen. Those are the things that are being factored in, but nonetheless, Clay has done a heck of a job at giving us a boost, and when you look at the way the rotation has gone the last two or three times through, it’s been extremely encouraging.”

Farrell said Buchholz has been much more consistent throwing quality strikes, which has helped spark his turnaround on the mound.

“Obviously, going out of the stretch exclusively has minimized some of the movement in his delivery when he’s in the windup,” Farrell said. “It’s allowed him to make adjustments from one pitch to the next. I think just some subtle adjustments have really added to the depth to his cutter. Last night it was probably the best cutter he’s had I would say in a couple of years time. In addition to staying behind his arm and you saw the power and the velocity, he held 94 pretty much throughout. Those are the reasons why he’s been so consistent in really these three starts.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at

On concern over Drew Pomeranz and his innings pitched: “It’s something we’ve talked about, but I think the plan that we’ve used, and one that’s been established the way he’s worked throughout the course of this year is we haven’t started [him in] an inning over 100 pitches. This isn’t a 22-to-25-year-old, he’s 28 years old, it’s a guy a little more physically mature. He’s doing a very good job of late with the efficiency and the number of pitches thrown inside an inning. All those things are pointing to a guy that will maintain his spot in the rotation. The fact is we traded a premium young pitcher for a guy we really like in Pomeranz, and to put him in the bullpen, I don’t know if we’re at that point yet.”

On reliever Junichi Tazawa, who has struggled of late: “We’ve got to build some confidence with him, there’s no doubt. He’s a guy that we know has pitched a lot of meaningful innings and we’ve also seen the last couple of years towards the end of the year where things have he’s started to maybe pull back, not so much pull back but, the performance hasn’t been as strong throughout the course of the year. Right now, trying to pick some spots to regain some confidence and regain a little bit of the arm strength provided we are in a spot to give him recovery time and ample rest.”

On Andrew Benintendi’s quick adjustment to the majors: “I think the thing that really stands out is just his overall emotional control. He’s very even-keeled, he’s very even-tempered. You don’t see a lot of rushing or panic in the box when he’s down two strikes. He’s shown very good plate coverage, and in a short period of time there’s been a pretty distinct attack plan against him by some right-handers with some even cutters or sliders in tight. He’s shown the ability to hit pitches in multiple parts of the strike zone, it’s a pretty polished hitter for a young guy. I think the way he’s handled the entire environment, that’s the thing that stands out the most.”

On the tough road trip and how the players have handled it: “I couldn’t be more proud of the way that they’ve embraced this. You throw in the makeup game in Cleveland, we’re bouncing around a little bit, there’s been a little bit of a feeling of it doesn’t matter where, what time or what time we’re going to get in on a travel day. They’ve done a good job of not allowing that to be any more of an obstacle or a distraction. Bar any other thoughts, our pitching has been what’s allowing us to win on the road, and particularly our starters. They’ve maintained games, they’ve worked deep into games, we’ve had some elite performances, particularly in the first two games of this series by both David Price and Clay. All things considered, we’re responding to the challenge that’s at hand.”

Blog Author: 
Nicholas Frazier
Sam Kennedy

Sam Kennedy

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy called in to the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show on Wednesday to discuss the solid play of the pitching staff and possible Fenway renovations. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

The Red Sox now have a good problem on their hands, as they likely will have six viable starting pitchers available once Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez are back to full health. Clay Buchholz made his claim for a spot in the starting rotation after holding the Rays to one run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings in a 2-1 Boston win on Tuesday. Buchholz struck out a season-high nine batters in the performance.

“It’s been a really tough year for him, up and down, and I’m just so pleased that he was able to contribute,” Kennedy said. “We always talk about having deep depth in that rotation, we’ve had to go down to the minor leagues, we’ve had to bring in guys from the outside, and it takes a huge amount of effort from all across the organization to make the postseason. That’s the goal, and hopefully the guys will keep contributing the way they have, especially over this really difficult road trip where the team’s playing really well.”

Kennedy said that there is “a lot of advocating going on” by the guys who believe they earned a spot in the starting rotation.

“These guys are competitors,” Kennedy said. “They’re major league players, when your job, your career is to be a starting pitcher in the major leagues, you want to fight like you-know-what to keep that position. I think that’s what we’ve seen in the last couple of outings from different guys. You want to be in that rotation going every fifth day, it’s hard to be mentally prepared when your not certain about when your turn in the rotation is going to come.”

Added Kennedy: “We’ll have to see how it plays out, it’s a good spot to be in, it sounds like Wright will swap back in, Eddy Rodriguez will swap back in if all continues to go well. There’s been no formal announcement yet, but health is the big thing and right now [manager John Farrell] and [president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowksi] and [general manager Mike] Hazen have a couple of hard decisions to make over the next couple of days, as they deliberate how to line things up here down these final 37 games.”

Regarding the Red Sox’ plans to upgrade Fenway Park. some proposed ideas to pursue in the offseason are another video board out in right field, replacing the bullpen wall with a removable wall, and moving the dugouts forward to add more seats.

“It’s something that we studied when we got here in 2002,” Kennedy said. “We had an opportunity to either learn from our experiences in San Diego and Florida. … I think the collective opinion was, boy, we’ve got the best location in all of professional baseball. We’ve got a beauty of a ballpark in Fenway, but it needed a lot of tender love and care. These guys have put in $300 million of private money into renovating and preserving and protecting Fenway Park. Now we feel responsibility 15 years in to keep adding to it and making sure that it stays for the next generation of fans.”

Continued Kenendy: “We are looking at a removable wall in case we host college football again in the future or any soccer matches in the future, we’d have a wall that would give us a little bit more space, but it would be the same position that it is now. We are looking to add a few more seats, we are looking to add a video board in right field to service the bleacher seat customers, the folks out in the Monster seats. Every year we look to upgrade Fenway and really treasure this ballpark that means so much to so many of us.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at

On the Red Sox scouting MLB hopeful Tim Tebow: “We’ll have a couple guys out there, I think two scouts that are based in the West Coast. I talked to Dave and Hazen about it this morning, I was kind of joking with Hazen, I said, ‘What do you need help with, your fantasy football suggestions?’ Who knows? I mean, look, we don’t want to leave any stone unturned. Who knows? It sounds like he’s an athlete, played in high school, you never know. … Hopefully they get in and out of their in one day and then go their merry way.”

On an update regarding free agent reliever Jonathan Papelbon: “It’s interesting, it looked like for a while there that something was going to happen quickly and then all of a sudden everything went silent for a while. We have expressed our interests, I look at it from a guy who’s been in the organization for a long time and a fan here in Boston. He’s competed here, he absolutely loved it here, he was an extremely intense player. Given the way that his departure happened, it would be kind of a flyer on Pap and we’ve expressed interest, I know John Farrell is a big fan. But it’s not moving along right now with him and any team that we know of. Frankly I’m not sure where it’s going, but we have expressed interest and we can always use extra arms in the bullpen when it comes down to crunch time, so we’ll see how it plays out in the next couple of days.”

On whether reliever Koji Uehara will return this season: “I know he threw well yesterday, and I think the plan is to have two or three more bullpen sessions and then hopefully he can contribute again to the 2016 Red Sox, it’d be great to be able to call on him for some experience as we get down to trying to make it in to the postseason dance. We’ll see, I hope so. Fingers crossed.”

Blog Author: 
Nicholas Frazier

Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (67-62): L, 9-0, vs. Syracuse (Nationals)

Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday.

Roenis Elias

Roenis Elias

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (67-62): L, 9-0, vs. Syracuse (Nationals)

— Left-hander Roenis Elias got roughed up, surrendering a Triple-A high seven runs on nine hits through six innings. His runs allowed came in spurts, as he let up three runs in the opening frame, two in the third, and another two in the sixth. He struck out four and walked one. Elias had been dealt just one loss over his previous 13 appearances. The 28-year-old, who has had three major league outings this season, now is 9-5 with a 3.98 ERA in the minors.

— Bryce Brentz went 2-for-4 with his 17th double of the season. He is 5-for-19 in his six games since returning to Pawtucket from Boston. Brentz, 27, is slashing .261/.312/.414 in 53 games with the PawSox.

— Jose Vinicio also collected two hits for his third multi-hit performance in nine games. The 23-year-old infielder is batting .258/.284/.324 with seven stolen bases in 65 games.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (50-76): W, 8-2, vs. New Hampshire (Blue Jays)

— Yoan Moncada did it all for Portland, drilling his 10th Double-A home run and drawing four walks to reach base in all five plate appearances. He also made a great play at third base as he continues to make the adjustment to the hot corner.

The four walks were a career high for Boston’s top prospect at, and he has now reached base in eight straight plate appearances. His three-run bomb in the second inning gave Portland the lead for good. Moncada, 21, seems to have snapped out of his cold streak offensively, hitting .333 in his last 10 games. Overall this season he is hitting .298/.411/.522 in 379 at-bats between Portland and Salem.

— Jalen Beeks picked up the win, allowing two runs on five hits in five innings. It is the fourth win in the past five starts for the 23-year-old left-hander. He did walk four and struck out only one, however. Beeks now is 9-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 24 starts. He is Boston’s No. 29 prospect at

— Jake Romanski had his own strong day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. He was one of four Sea Dogs batters with multiple hits. Romanski, 25, snapped a four-game hitless streak and notched his first RBIs since Aug. 10. He is averaging .300/.333/.397 in 82 games with Portland.

— Luis Ysla came on in the ninth inning to end the game, striking out one and letting up no hits in the outing. Boston’s No. 24 prospect at has let up one run in his last 6 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old reliever is 2-4 with a 3.78 ERA in 37 appearances.

Daniel McGrath

Daniel McGrath

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (78-48): L, 10-3, at Potomac (Nationals)

— Daniel McGrath was tagged with the loss, giving up seven runs (six earned) on three hits in three innings. Recently named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Week, McGrath gave up a season-high five walks that allowed Potomac to run away with it. McGrath, 22, is now 7-6 with a 4.42 ERA in 17 starts. Opponents are hitting just .222 when facing the southpaw.

— Jose Sermo was the only Salem batter with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. The double was his 12th of the year. The 25-year-old outfielder is batting .353 in his last five games and is slashing .261/.315/.472 in 46 games this season.

— Mario Alcantara came on to replace McGrath, pitching three solid innings. The righty let up one run on two hits, fanning three batters and walking just one. Alcantara, 23, is 9-2 with a 3.44 ERA in 29 outings. Opposing batters are hitting .197 against him.

Austin Glorius

Austin Glorius

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (66-61): L, 2-1 in 10 innings, at Augusta (Giants)

— Austin Glorius pitched five strong inning for the Drive, holding Augusta to one run on three hits. He struck out two and walked just one. His ERA is 1.67 over his last 10 outings, totaling 23 strikeouts in that span. Glorius, 23, is 2-1 with a 3.13 ERA in 29 appearances.

Boston’s No. 8 prospect at, Luis Alexander Basabe, went 2-for-5 with a double and drove in Greenville’s only run of the game. His RBI two-bagger in the fifth inning was his 23rd double of the season. The 19-year-old outfielder is slashing .258/.322/.455 with 43 extra-base hits in 99 games.

— Victor Diaz took the mound in the sixth inning, tossing four scoreless frames to force the game to extras. He struck out six and walked three while giving up three hits. The 22-year-old right-hander has not allowed a run in his last 13 outings. He is 2-5 with a 4.08 ERA in 34 appearances.

Chris Madera

Chris Madera

SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS (38-25): W, 6-5, at Vermont (Athletics)

— It was a good 24th birthday for Chris Madera, who knocked in the winning run in the top of the ninth inning. Madera, who replaced the injured Ryan Scott, beat out an infield single to drive in Jhon Nunez and break the tie. The outfielder finished 2-for-3 coming off of the bench. He has back-to-back multi-hit games and is batting .263/.354/.365 in 39 minor league games.

— Kevin Steen gave up five runs on four hits through five innings in the start. He struck out three and walked three. He left after giving up four runs in the fifth frame. Steen, 20, now is 2-4 with a 5.43 ERA in 12 outings.

— Tyler Hill continued his success, going 2-for-5 with a triple, and RBI and two runs. It was his fifth triple of the season, and he is now 11-for-14 in his last three contests. The 20-year-old outfielder is hitting .347/.414/.515 with 35 RBIs and 36 runs in 52 games.

Blog Author: 
Nicholas Frazier

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Wednesday morning to discuss the Red Sox’ playoff chances, Clay Buchholz’s resurgence, John Farrell’s job security and more.

Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Wednesday morning to discuss the Red Sox’ playoff chances, Clay Buchholz’s resurgence, John Farrell’s job security and more. To hear the full conversation, go to to the D&C audio on demand page.

Through nine games of the Red Sox’ 11-game road trip, the Sox have posted a 7-2 record, which is something Schilling said is a good omen.

“I think by the end of this month you are going to know if they are in the playoffs,” he said. “I thought that this road trip, the amount of travel that they were going to have to do, the pitching had to be the thing carrying them and for the most part that is exactly what has happened. They are playing a good stretch of games on a nightmarish stretch of schedule. I like their chances, very much like their chances. If I was betting today, I would bet on them being in, but my issue gets back to you are going to play that Monday play-in game. Are you battling up to the last day of the season to get in, and if so, who is pitching that game for you? Listen, we are 5 1/2 weeks away, so anybody right now could get hot and you could say that is who I am giving the ball to, but who are you giving the ball to win that one game?

Buchholz pitched in his third spot start on Tuesday night and picked up his first win in almost a month after going 6 1/3 innings and allowing one run on five hits and two walks with nine strikeouts in a 2-1 victory over the Rays.

“The reason I think it feels like such a huge relief or a huge bump is he went into these last two starts, no one was expecting anything, right?” Schilling said of Buchholz. “We talk about seven innings and one run against Tampa as if he threw a no-no. … What happens in the postseason? How is that going to play itself out in the postseason? Is he going to be one of your three or four guys?”

When asked if Buchholz could come out of the bullpen as the eighth-inning reliever, Schilling said, “I don’t think his stuff translates [to that role]. One of the things about being a late-inning guy is you have to be able to be efficient from a pitch count and pitch selection perspective. You can’t go out in the eighth inning and get guys out with four pitches. It doesn’t work that way. You have to be able to go out and be a fastball-slider or fastball-splitter [pitcher]. When you are a late-inning guy it is about two pitches, two effective pitches that you can command on both sides of the plate. That is not what he does. He is a 90 to 92-93 guy, who when he was younger had four devastating pitches but now he has a very good curveball, a good changeup, he’s got a good cutter. You come into the eighth inning you might be getting an out, you’ve got to get a guy out with one or two pitches from a selection perspective and I don’t think that is the kind of pitcher he is.

“When you have four pitches some nights you are working. I had two pitches, but I tried to work with four. There were nights when you go out there and you have fastball-split, or when you have fastball-split and slider or maybe you just have a slider and a decent split. You’ve got to go out as a late-inning guy with a fastball that you throw for strikes and a breaking ball you can get swing and misses on every night. Think about all the great postseason guys. [Jonathan] Papelbon had the fastball-split. [Mariano] Rivera had the cutter. You think about all the guys that are good quality closers. Keith Foulke had the changeup. It all went around with great fastball command, which is not something [Buchholz] ever ever had. I think if he’s going to be in the bullpen he’s got to be a middle-inning guy, three-inning guy. I don’t know that he suits up or he can adjust to being a fastball [pitcher]. I don’t know what his second pitch would be. Probably a changeup, maybe.”

Schilling noted he doesn’t think there needs to be a three-inning middle reliever on a postseason roster.

“If you do, you are only going to play one or two games and that is the play-in game and you are going to lose the first two,” Schilling said. “You don’t set up a pitching staff like that.”

Farrell’s job security has been a hot topic most of the summer, although with the team playing well now it doesn’t appear likely the Sox would fire him before the end of the season.

“I don’t think that there is an opportunity to fire [Farrell], I would say specifically him, between now and the end of the season. I don’t think they are looking for one. I can’t tell you for sure, but I don’t think that would be something that would be conducive to getting in because when you think about all the things that go wrong in this media environment around that. That would create as much of a headache as it did a potential solution,” Schilling said. “Yes, I agree. If they don’t make the playoffs I think he is fired the day the season ends. We have seen in the last four or five years, epic collapses around the game and that usually ends up getting the guy fired. You are riding the wave of an unreal world championship and then, two, you know, below-the-bottom-of-the-barrel finishes. I think the fans here are very clear in their unhappiness on a consistent basis with him night-in, night-out. You know John [Henry], the whole ownership, listens to this radio station.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Red Sox news, got to

On  keeping a baseball team in Tampa: “Honestly, that is the late-’90s Montreal. They have to get that team out of there. … I think you have to get it out of Florida because the Marlins have the very same thing. It’s much like Arizona, it’s a very transient population. Nobody is born and raised down there. Everyone vacations and retires down there, so they bring their own favorite teams with them. Arizona is the same way, it is very hard to build up a very dyed-in-the-wool and ground-up foundation of fans. I don’t know where else to move them. I have thought about this, but I don’t think either franchise is going to be able to survive down there. But I will tell you what, I always loved pitching there. It was very comfortable on that mound in that stadium. It was always a home crowd. If you watch that game [Tuesday] night it was the exact same thing. Red Sox fans travel unlike any other fans I ever played in front of or for and that’s not a bad thing going down there ’cause [the Rays] are back to where they were when I first got over here, which is they are not a very good team. They have decent young talent, but you feel like you come in here if you don’t win two out of three you feel like you lost a series.”

On the possible scrutiny he would face if he ran for U.S. Senator: “I jokingly say it, but it’s true: I played 10 years in Philadelphia, some of the worst media on the planet, and then I came here and it was kind of some of the worst media on the planet on steroids. Listen, if I had remotely thin skin I would’ve been out a long time ago because of the things that have been said and done, and I’m not playing the victim, I’m just saying the things that have happened since 2004 since I said, ‘Vote Bush,’ have been on one hand terrifying and on the other hand amusing. The extremes people have gone, the things people have said. I’m used to it. I keep trying to tell people that I know and that know me, the outpouring since I have talked about running for office has been pretty amazing. I mean, since I was initially talked about I was kind of trying to be a little humorous about it, it has gotten serious, so from that regard it’s interesting. These people are always going to be there, that’s the world we live in. All you have to do is look at the mainstream media in this election and the fact that Donald Trump, there will be seven articles about something he said that had nothing to with what he actually said, and Hillary Clinton will stab somebody and they will talk about how she was set up.”

Blog Author: 
John Hand

Rick Porcello admits he becomes a different person when on the mound. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- For four days, the mindset is fairly consistent. Even-keel. Laid back. Diligent about the work. Dry sense of humor.

The steady Rick Porcello will take the mound for the Red Sox on Wednesday in the third game of a four-game series with the Rays, who will send out right-hander Matt Andriese.

Porcello leads the American League with 17 wins, accompanied by a 3.22 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. He has pitched at least seven innings in his last five starts, his most recent coming in a 10-2 win over Detroit on Friday. The 27-year-old right-hander held the Tigers to one earned run on four hits in seven innings, striking out eight and walking just two.

“It was weird being on the other side,” said Porcello, who was a Tiger for six seasons. “But it helped a lot that I pitched against them last year [in Boston] and that we came here last year. Today didn’t feel quite as strange, so I was able to settle in and enjoy it.”

In 14 career starts against the Rays, Porcello is 8-4 with a 2.85 ERA. His last game vs. Tampa came on July 9 of this season, when he held the Rays to one run on six hits in seven innings in a 4-1 Red Sox victory.

In 22 appearances, 12 of them being starts, Andriese is 6-5 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. A relief pitcher being used to fill out the starting rotation, Andriese has lost his last three starts, his last defeat coming in a 6-2 game against the Rangers on Friday. The 26-year-old gave up five runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, fanning four and walking two.

Andriese kept the Rangers scoreless through the first four innings, until he began to falter in the fifth with a leadoff home run by Mitch Moreland. Andriese was not able to recover after that.

“I kind of hit a wall there,” Andriese said. “I just was out there grinding it out. Didn’t feel the best. Just was out there, put it to work.”

Andries has taken on the Red Sox three times in his two-year career and has not given up a run in any of those three contests. He pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings in a 4-0 Red Sox win on July 10 of this season, striking out five.

Red Sox vs. Andriese (RHP)

Mookie Betts is 1-for-5.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts.

Xander Bogaerts is 1-for-3 with 1 strikeout.

Sandy Leon is 1-for-3 with 1 strikeout.

David Ortiz is 0-for-3 with 1 strikeout.

Travis Shaw is 0-for-2 with 1 strikeout.

Chris Young is 0-for-2 with 1 strikeout.

Brock Holt is 0-for-2 with 2 strikeouts.

Dustin Pedroia is 0-for-1 with 1 walk and 1 strikeout.

Rays vs. Porcello (RHP)

Evan Longoria (36 plate appearances): .250 AVG/.289 OBP/.333 SLG, 3 doubles, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts

Desmond Jennings (22): .318/.375/.500, 1 double, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Logan Forsythe (20): .300/.364/.400, 1 triple, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Kevin Kiermaier (20): .250/.286/.300, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Steven Souza Jr. (18): .333/.333/.333, 5 strikeouts

Logan Morrison (16): .375/.375/.438, 1 double, 1 RBI, 5 strikeouts

Hank Conger (12): .167/.167/.167, 2 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

Brad Miller (11): .273/.333/1.091, 3 home runs, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Corey Dickerson (10): .300/.300/.800, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Blog Author: 
Nicholas Frazier

A big decision about Clay Buchholz's role is coming up for the Red Sox. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

A big decision about Clay Buchholz’s role is coming up for the Red Sox. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Clay Buchholz has become one of the Red Sox’ most important pitchers. So why shouldn’t he be put in what has become this team’s most unsettled spot?

After the Red Sox’ 2-1 win over the Rays Tuesday night, John Farrell wasn’t tipping his hand. Would the guy who just rattled off a 6 2/3-inning, one-run gem stay in the starting rotation, or be pushed back to the bullpen due to the return of Steven Wright?

“As far as Clay goes, this will be more conversation within,” Farrell said. “But setting that aside, he’s throwing the ball exceptionally well right now.”

He sure is. A 1.96 ERA since July 27 backs that up. And so does his 2.70 ERA in the three starts Buchholz has turned in since filling in for Wright. Watch him over the past two outings, and it’s easy to envision the righty qualified to start a postseason game.

So it would only make sense to let Buchholz keep rolling along in the starting rotation, right? Wrong.

This isn’t about whether or not he could keep having success in the starting rotation. Considering Buchholz’s history, he would seem to be primed for one of those runs he has previously executed. The track record is that when the pitcher gets going like this, he is only derailed by one thing — injuries.

The priority here is finding a lock-down eighth inning guy, and Buchholz is the best candidate for that position.

“Yeah,” said Buchholz when asked if he would embrace such a challenge. “I like competition. I like being in spots where everybody is betting against you.”

The Red Sox have very viable candidates to keep the starting rotation’s recent success trending in the right direction. When healthy, Eduardo Rodriguez and Wright have proven enough to have faith they can be leaned on.

The eighth inning? That’s another story.

Brad Ziegler needs to be put in more specific situations, and not just sent out every eighth to get three outs. Take a look at the swing lefty hitter Kevin Kiermaier put on the reliever’s one-out offering, that resulted in an absolute rocket down the right field line. He can pitch to lefties, but getting ground balls and prioritizing dominating tough righty hitters should be the priority.

There has been some rumblings about choosing to use former reliever Drew Pomeranz to high-leverage land. But considering the lefty is on a pretty good run, himself, and, unlike Buchholz, hasn’t pitched out of the bullpen this season, that seems like an unnecessary move.

Buchholz actually seemed to start thriving in his relief role, which was his existence just a few weeks ago. And when it comes to those all-important eighth-inning outs, there is something to be said for stuff, and Tuesday night’s repertoire (which included a 95 mph moving fastball) spoke volumes.

“It’s different than I thought it was going to be the first time I got sent to the bullpen,” he said. “I still think of it as a demotion, because obviously it is. But you still have to have your wits about you out there because you’re coming into scenarios inside of a game that are going to be big scenarios, important scenarios. I think it was a really good thing to see that from both sides. Having to make pitches on a moment’s notice. It has been good.”

Maybe the Red Sox prioritize drawing back on Pomeranz’s innings and his ability to get out lefties. Or perhaps they take their time with Rodriguez and give Buchholz another start to delay the decision.

But it just seems like, as we sit here, Buchholz is one of the Red Sox’ most effective pitchers. And that being the case, it sure would seem like a good idea to use someone like that in a place like the eighth inning.

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Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford