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 weei.com/redsox.
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.”