Clay Buchholz pitched for the first time since July 2, Thursday night. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Images)

Clay Buchholz pitched for the first time since July 2, Thursday night. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Images)

This might not be the last time Clay Buchholz pitches on the Fenway Park mound, but it sure is starting to feel like his run in Red Sox’ home whites is facing it’s finale.

Part of the vibe came from the obvious observation as to what Buchholz’s lot in life has become, having finally pitched for the first time since July 2 when he finished off the Sox’ 13-2 win over the Twins Thursday night with a scoreless inning.

But the other piece of the puzzle when surmising the end might be closing in for Buchholz when it comes to his time in Boston was the blunt explanation by Red Sox’ manager John Farrell prior to the game when asked about the pitcher’s role.

“He’s in a tough spot, I’ll be candid,” Farrell said. “I don’t want to say it’s purgatory, but as far as baseball he’s in a difficult spot. There was the four-day layover over the break. We’ve played very good winning baseball. We’ve gotten starters deeper into ballgames where the bullpen has been rested. That’s where the decisions have come in.”

And now with the Junichi Tazawa scheduled to return Friday, Joe Kelly knocking on the door to be a legitimate late-inning relief option, and the non-waiver trade deadline just 10 days away, it’s not a stretch to think Buchholz’s future will be with another club, starting in the not-too-distant future.

“If this is the way the team is going to be as far as the rotation part of it … I feel like the guys they’re rolling out there, I don’t have a spot. I’m the odd man out,” said Buchholz when asked if he thought we was going to be traded. “I’m not sure. I don’t know. Not having pitched in a while I felt like something has be going on. I’m just trying to stay as sharp as I can and that’s why I’ve been throwing on the side. I have to stay somewhat stretched out.

“Something has to go in some direction. I know we have Taz coming back, and Koji [Uehara] and Craig [Kimbrel] when they come back, and then it becomes a numbers game.”

The idea that these may be the last days for Buchholz in a Red Sox uniform seemingly hasn’t quite hit home for the pitcher. He has, after all, spent all nine of his major league seasons in this city. Thanks to 188 regular season appearances with the organization, he is established enough to own two lockers in the home clubhouse, while residing just about one year shy of 10-5 rights.

But, barring any unforeseen change of events, the surroundings figure to be changing for Buchholz, perhaps sooner rather than later.

‘I don’t necessarily think about it. if it happens, it happens,” said Buchholz of these being his final days in Boston. “There’s not a whole lot I can do about it on that side of it, except pitch whenever they call. I’m sure there are a lot of things that are going on. There might be another chapter. It is what it is. I’ll figure it out either way.”

This we do know: teams have asked about Buchholz, which only makes sense. With the starting pitching market so thin, and the 31-year-old in the final season of a contract that is paying him $13 million this season, the righty would seem to be worth a gamble.

It’s hard to overlook the numbers, which stand at a 3-9 record and 5.84 ERA. But there might still be something there if Thursday night is any indication, with Buchholz actually looking fairly sharp while using a 95 mph fastball and solid control with 13 of his 17 pitches going for strikes.

“Being new to the whole bullpen deal, I don’t really have a role down there,” he said. “It’s not like I’m a seventh-, eighth-, or ninth-inning guy. I haven’t gotten up to pitch for a while. Just tried to throw bullpens during the game. That’s what I’ve been doing whenever anyone has been seeing me up there. I just get up there, try to throw some pitches to stay as sharp as I can. It was good to get back out there. Hopefully I can move forward a little bit now.”

“You know what? Got to give Clay a lot of credit for staying as sharp as possible given the situation — 18 or 19 days from his last game appearance,” Farrell noted. “All the credit to Clay for the amount of early throwing that he’s gone through. He threw an extended bullpen last night. I thought he was crisp and a lot of strikes with multiple pitches, so credit him.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
David Ortiz hit his 24th homer of the season in the Red Sox' rout of the Twins. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz hit his 24th homer of the season in the Red Sox’ rout of the Twins. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Prior to the game, David Ortiz hit a ball so hard into Pesky’s Pole it got got stuck in between the wires.

The designated hitter followed that up by crushing a two-run home run 420 feet well over the Red Sox bullpen and into the bleachers in the eighth inning to punctuate a 13-2 win over the Twins Thursday night.

Ortiz said he hit the ball that hit the foul pole harder, but his eighth inning blast was still hammered.

It was his 24th home run of the season, which is the most by a player 40 years or older since Raul Ibanez in 2013, who hit 29. The slugger now has 79 RBIs on the year, which are the most by a major leaguer 40 years or older since Edgar Martinez had 98 in 2003. As it relates to the rest of the majors at the moment, they are the second-most in baseball to Edwin Encarnacion’s 86.

“I’m feeling good at the plate,” Ortiz said after the game. “I told [John Farrell] that if I got on base just pinch-run for me. Everything is going well right now and I am feeling good at the plate and wanted to take advantage of it.”

Ortiz has now homered in five of his last seven home games. He’s also now reached base in 48 of his last 50 games at Fenway Park. Even at 40 years old, he continues to produce at an extraordinary level.

“Just the consistency to the at-bats, the hard hit is really mind-boggling at this point in the season,” manager John Farrell said. “We talked about the last swing of spring training and it hasn’t stopped. Extra-base hits, quality at-bats, on base seemingly a couple of times every single night.

“You don’t want this run to end.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

When the Red Sox put a heap of runs on the Giants Wednesday, it ended up being integral those runs were scored with way their pitching went.

The monsoon of runs continued Thursday, but the pitching followed this time on the way to the Red Sox’ 13-2 win over the Twins.

Steven Wright was outstanding once again for the Red Sox Thursday night against the Twins. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Steven Wright was outstanding once again for the Red Sox Thursday night against the Twins. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

When the Red Sox put a heap of runs on the Giants Wednesday, it ended up being integral those runs were scored with way their pitching went.

The monsoon of runs continued Thursday, but the pitching followed this time on the way to the Red Sox’ 13-2 win over the Twins.

Steven Wright took a perfect game 4 1/3 innings before Max Kepler singled to left field just over the outstretched arm of Travis Shaw at third base in the fifth. Wright threw just 51 pitches in that stretch before surrendering a pair of runs (only one of which being earned) in the frame.

The 31-year-old knuckleballer ultimately went eight innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. The nine strikeouts matched Wright’s career high.

The Red Sox found a way to score early yet again — even earlier than Wednesday, in fact — with Mookie Betts taking Twins starter Tyler Duffy 410 feet into the Monster Seats on the first pitch of the game. The dinger turned out to be a sign of what was to come, as the Red Sox put two more runs on the board in the inning, adding another trio in the third.

The 1-2-3-4 hitters for the Red Sox in Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz were outstanding at the dish for the Red Sox, going a combined 14-for-19, with 10 runs scored and nine RBIs. Ortiz had a pair of hits, while Betts and Bogaerts had three and Pedroia had five.

With Fenway resonating with “Papi” chants in the bottom of the eighth inning, Ortiz answered the call, blasting a two-run home run over the home bullpen into the right field bleachers to cap the scoring for the Red Sox.

Pedroia’s 5-for-5 performance was the fourth five-hit game of his career.

Jackie Bradley Jr. put together a stellar performance at the plate as well, going 2-for-4 with a team-high three RBIs, including a home run to straightaway center field in the fifth inning. His 15th home run of the season came in his 300th at-bat, a marker that took him 700 at-bats across three seasons to attain prior to 2016.

Wright’s outing was not only essential in giving the Red Sox an opportunity to win the game, but also to help replenish arms in the bullpen. After a night where the Red Sox mowed through four relievers, Wright gave the bullpen an opportunity to catch it’s breath.

Clay Buchholz relieved Wright in the ninth, allowing a double, but no runs. It was his first appearance since July 2.

Closing Time note

The Red Sox’ 18 first inning home runs are tied with the sixth frame for the team’s most homers in an inning

Here’s what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— Betts didn’t wait long to homer in the game, drilling Tyler Duffy’s first pitch into the Monster Seats to start the game. The offense followed suit in scoring, putting six runs on the board in the first three frames.

— Bradley Jr. made a stellar diving grab in center field to end the inning and keep Wright’s perfect game going through four frames.

— After entering the game 0 for his last 10, Pedroia had a redeeming evening at the plate, putting together a 5-for-5 performance.

— Wright matched his career high of nine strikeouts, which he set last season on August 5 against the Yankees.

— All but one Red Sox reached base at least once, with 7 of 10 batters grabbing at least one hit.

WHAT WENT WRONG

— Ryan Hanigan had a night to forget at the plate, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts while grounding into a double play.

— After pounding three home runs just a night prior, Hanley Ramirez was absent offensively, going 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen
Dale and Holley with Thornton (and special guest Steve Buckley) speak to Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez after his epic night at Fenway.

While the legend of Ted Williams hitting the red seat from xxx feet away is far from verified, David Ortiz’s feat during batting practice Thursday was there for everybody to see.

The Red Sox designated hitter rifled ball that stuck in the foul pole along the right field line. Ushers stationed in the area confirmed that they had never seen anybody manage such maneuver.

While the legend of Ted Williams hitting the red seat from 502 feet away is far from verified, David Ortiz’s feat during batting practice Thursday was there for everybody to see.

The Red Sox designated hitter rifled ball that stuck in the foul pole along the right field line. Ushers stationed in the area confirmed that they had never seen anybody manage such maneuver.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Prior to Thursday’s Red Sox game against the Twins, manager John Farrell discussed the status of Blake Swihart’s ankle rehab and how pivotal Matt Barnes has been for the team.

Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

Prior to Thursday’s Red Sox game against the Twins, manager John Farrell discussed the status of Blake Swihart’s ankle rehab and how pivotal Matt Barnes has been for the team.

After weeks of steady progress, Swihart reached a setback in his ability to make cuts while running and exploding when starting.

“As he’s ramped up the intensity and the different cuts, his ankle is starting to talk back to him a little bit here,” Farrell said. “Much like it was when he first started to initiate some movement, then got into a pretty good stretch where he was making some good gains on it. As that intensity’s picked up, he’s going through a phase now where he’s got to quiet some things down.”

Swihart has been on the 60-day disabled list after being transferred there July 9 following severely spraining his ankle on June 4.

After saving a potentially disastrous situation Wednesday night, getting starter Tommy Layne out of a bases loaded, no out jam, Farrell discussed Barnes’ effectiveness in critical situations.

“He’s pitched in some of the highest leverage, non-ninth inning situations that we’ve had, and we’ll continue to do so. Given the current makeup of our bullpen, he’s probably going to be a one-plus inning type of guy in those key moments,” Farrell said. “We don’t have the three guys in New York. We don’t  the three guys that are in Kansas City where regardless of the score, who’s coming up, here, run it out. So to have the flexibility to use a guy like Matt, whether it’s in the seventh because it’s you’re in the heat of their lineup, that flexibility is in the current makeup of this bullpen.”

Part of what has made Barnes successful has been his ability to distance himself from his previous habit of surrendering multiple walks. After giving up a combined 14 walks in April and May, he’s allowed five in June and July combined.

“That’s one of the key contributors,” Farrell said when asked if limiting his walks has made him successful as of late. “The other is his percentage of his curveball is being thrown for strikes. And when he’s missed he’s backed it up with a strike curveball to keep some hitters from rushing out to get his fastball. And since early May, the velocity has climbed to the upper-90’s and he’s one of the premier arms in any bullpen around the country.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

— With the daunting, travel-heavy schedule rapidly approaching, Farrell commented on giving players rest during the four-game set against the Twins. Ryan Hanigan, who is starting for the first time since last Friday, will likely start this Friday in order to give Sandy Leon rest. Farrell also added he is going to try to rotate in Aaron Hill and Michael Martinez in the infield.

“We’re looking at the best ways to match up to get Martinez involved and how Aaron Hill gets rotated through. So with three right-handers in these first three games, we’ll look to rotate some people through,” Farrell said, noting Martinez is much like Brock Holt and can play multiple positions defensively.

— Farrell said he still does not know, “when or how long” Koji Uehara’s pectoral tear will keep him out of commission. The Japanese media reported Wednesday night that the injury could keep the reliever out until September.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen