MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about the Red Sox’ continued early season success, the Clay Buchholz controversy and the Celtics’ bid to pull off a comeback from a three-game deficit vs. the Knicks that would be similar to the Sox’ 2004 comeback against the Yankees.
Buchholz improved to 6-0 with seven shutout innings in a victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday, but he was accused by Blue Jays analysts Dirk Hayhurst and Jack Morris of doctoring the baseball. Buchholz denied the charges, and he was supported by NESN Red Sox analyst Dennis Eckersley, who took some shots at Hayhurst and Morris.
“Bottom line is that I am on Eck’s side,” Millar said. “I like Jack Morris, but the problem is we sit back here and are judging guys. You throw out a ‘Is he cheating’ or something like that. That’s a tough thing to do unless you’ve got some facts. The bottom line is the rosin bag is there for a reason. Pitchers put it all over their hat. … It’s for the pitcher’s grip. When you’re out there with a full-on lather, they all have something. They all lick their fingers off the mound, they all do something, they go to their hair if there’s some gel in there, but it’s just for a grip. But I’ll tell you what, you can’t take away the credit that this kid’s doing right now. I’m on Eck’s side.”
Added Millar: “Let’s focus on the job that he’s doing, instead of always trying to find out how, and some cheating thing. There are guys that know how to use the baseball and pitch the baseball and throw at their spot, and what Buchholz is doing is awesome.”
The Blue Jays are in last place despite an offseason spending spree that landed some high-profile players.
“You have to have a mix that’s going to kind of jell,” Millar said. “I’m looking at that team, it’s not that jelling mix. It doesn’t make sense yet. … I’m not saying it’s not going to happen. I’m just saying right now that team doesn’t like they’re a competitive club.”
Millar, a key member of the 2004 Red Sox, said the Celtics reached out to him about making an appearance at Friday’s Game 6 and, “It would have been pretty cool,” but he already had committed to play in a golf tournament with his father in Los Angeles this weekend.
“How ironic. Same two cities, same situation going on,” Millar said. “You can’t make this stuff up. … It’s going to be an exciting night at the Garden. I wish we were there.”