Buchholz finally puts it all together


Buchholz finally puts it all together

BOSTON This was the Clay Buchholz the Red Sox have been waiting for.

Dominant. Efficient. Durable. And winning.

Buchholz went eight innings against the Blue Jays Friday night at Rogers Center, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks with a season-high seven strikeouts. He threw 108 pitches, 71 for strikes, as the Sox beat the Jays, 7-2.

Buchholz improved his record to 5-2, dropping his ERA from 7.19 to 6.58.

Hes been building to that, thats for sure, said manager Bobby Valentine. Clay Buchholz was terrific tonight. Extra on his fastball, terrific changeup, changed his angle a little on his breaking ball, two strikes very competitive. I like that. He likes that. And I expect we can get more of the same.

The two runs Buchholz gave up were on solo home runs with two outs, one by Yunel Escobar in the third, the other by David Cooper in the seventh. Other than that, the Jays offered Buchholz little in the way of a challenge.

It felt good, Buchholz said. Its been building up to that last four or five times out. I just hadnt had the inning where I could shut them down without scoring you know, three or four runs in one inning. It came together tonight. I was able to get weak contact in big situations. A couple of DPs in big situations and guys hit and put up some runs.

Three of Buchholz's seven strikeouts were at the expense of Jose Bautista. Buchholz got him swinging at fastballs in the first and third innings, and looking at a curveball in the sixth.

Buchholz struck out the side in order in the sixth, starting with Bautista. He then got Edwin Encarnacion, also looking at a curveball, and Colby Rasmus looking at fastball.

Buchholz is pleased with the progress of his fastball.

It just felt good, comfortable, he said. I feel like my arm is getting
stronger. Given the back thing last year and starting to throw this offseason, it was more of a precautionary thing rather than trying to get it in shape to go out there and endure 200 innings of pitching. Its getting to the point where it should have in the middle of spring training right now.

In his last two starts, Buchholz has a 2.40 ERA, giving up four total earned runs on 15 innings with 13 strikeouts.

It was the longest Buchholz has gone into a game this season, and the longest since eight innings against the White Sox in Chicago on Sept. 27, 2010. His last longer outing was a complete-game shutout in Baltimore on June 4, 2010.

He wanted the eighth and I wanted him to do it, Valentine said. He didn't have many pitches. Now hes conquered eight. And it was only 108 pitches when it was all said and done. But there were a couple of tough innings. I know its only June 1 but when our team comes together and individuals build as the season goes on, thats how a team builds confidence in itself.

He came down and asked me if I had anything left and I said yeah, I have a lot left, Buchholz said.

Which is what the Red Sox want to hear.

Bradley, Betts, Pedroia are A.L. Gold Glove finalists


Bradley, Betts, Pedroia are A.L. Gold Glove finalists

Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field, Mookie Betts in right and Dustin Pedroia at second base are the Red Sox' finalists for the American League Gold Glove awards.

The Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar and the Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier are the other A.L. center field finalists. The White Sox’ Adam Eaton and Astros’ George Springer are A.L. right field finalists. Joining Pedroia as second base finalists are the Mariners’ Robinson Cano and Tigers’ Ian Kinsler.

Peoria has won four Gold Gloves. Bradley and Betts have yet to win one.

The full list of finalists is here.  The awards will be presented on Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. on ESPN

The Red Sox sent out a series of tweets backing each player’s candidacy.

Betts is also a front-runner for the American League Most Valuable Player.


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League

CLEVELAND -- David Ortiz is heading into retirement with some more hardware.

The Boston Red Sox slugger captured the Hank Aaron Award on Wednesday as the top hitter in the American League this season. Budding Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant was honored as the top hitter in the National League.

The award was presented before Game 2 of the World Series between the Cubs and Cleveland. It was determined through a combination of fan voting and a panel that includes Aaron and other Hall of Fame players.

The 40-year-old Ortiz hit .315 with 38 home runs, 127 RBIs and 48 doubles in the 20th and final season of his major league career. His 541 career home runs rank 17th all-time.

The 24-year-old Bryant hit .292 with 39 home runs and 102 RBIs while helping the Cubs cruise to the NL Central title and eventually a spot in the World Series. Shortly after being honored, Bryant singled in the first inning for his first Series hit.