It's Not About Curses

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It's Not About Curses

Do you believe in curses?

If so, please grab the nearest frying pan and smack yourself in the face.

Come on . . . there are no curses! So thats why Im not on board with David Ortizs comments after last nights game:

This f---ing team is cursed, he said, which is fitting since hes the only guy still around from a time when that word was used on the regular. But its still ridiculous. This is real life, Papi. Curses dont exist.

Still what happened last night was pretty eerie.

Its tied 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning. There are two on with no one out, and Adrian Gonzalez steps to the plate. This is a guy who weve spent the last three and a half months killing for his inability to a) hit for power and b) step up in the moment. And on the fourth pitch of the at-bat, Gonzalez did both, driving a three-run homer into the Monster Seats.

All things considered, this was probably the most uplifting moment of the Red Sox season. Sure, there have been other big hits, but not on a night like this. Not with Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford back in the line-up, Dustin Pedroia only days away and the Red Sox finally in a position to compete with baseballs best. And forget that this home run had just likely won the game, the fact that it was hit by Gonzalez made it so much sweeter.

In that split second, everything was coming together.

Meanwhile, over at first base, David Ortiz was trying to get a read on the situation. Initially, he wasnt sure if the ball was going out, and you cant blame his instincts. Gonzalez had only hit two balls over the monster all season. So Ortiz waited.

After about a second, Papi realized that if nothing else the ball wouldnt be caught. It was off the wall or over it. In either case, he needed to start running. So he put his head down, kicked into gear, rounded second base and at almost the very moment THE VERY MOMENT that Gonzalezs homer landed in the Monster seats, Papi came up lame.

He limped around the rest of the bases, walked gingerly back to the dugout and disappeared into the clubhouse. Obviously in legitimate pain.

Just like that, as fast as everything came together, it fell right back apart.

Now on the bright side, Ortiz's injury doesn't look that bad. It's not like he's lost for the season. But as much as you should want to look on the bright side, the will to do so is waning. How much can one team take? How much can one fanbase take? For a split second we were living the high life this team was becoming a team before being taken out at the knees by more heartbreak. Now we're back in the same state of limbo. Back to saying tired old phrases like, "Well, let's just wait and see how they'll be when everyone's healthy . . ."

But we're sick of waiting. We're sick of getting our hopes up for this team and then having them smashed to pieces by a sledgehammer. We'd love an explanation for why they can't catch a break. But it's not a stupid curse.

Its a spell.

You know what I mean? Not some voodoo curse BS. But actual magic. Some kind of real supernatural force that's standing between this team and their destiny.

How else can you explain what happened?

Nah, I'm kidding. It is a spell, but just a spell of really bad luck. One that we beter hope runs out before this curse stuff gains momentum.

We've been down that road before.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

McAdam: Buchholz is the relief the Red Sox need

McAdam: Buchholz is the relief the Red Sox need

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- This is the kind of season it has been for Clay Buchholz:

A little more than a month ago, he was merely taking up space on the Red Sox roster, having been summarily removed from the rotation after three months of poor outings.

He was in the bullpen, but the Sox were loathe to use him. Asked, memorably, why Buchholz hadn't been the choice to serve as a long reliever in a game in which the starter departed early, John Farrell candidly noted, in not so many words, that because the Sox still had a chance to win the game, Buchholz didn't make sense as an option.

Ouch.

But slowly, Buchholz became more effective in his new relief role. And when injuries struck the rotation, Buchholz got himself three cameo starts, during which he posted a 2.70 ERA in 16 2/3 innings, topped by Tuesday's beauty -- 6 1/3 innings, one run allowed, nine strikeouts recorded.

Just as Buchholz has straightened out, however, Red Sox starters are suddenly stacked up like jets waiting for clearance to land at Logan Airport. Steven Wright returns from a brief DL stint Friday, and Eduardo Rodriguez is not far behind.

When he pitched poorly, the Red Sox didn't have any other options.

When he pitched well, the Red Sox have plenty of other choices.

So, now what?

"As far as Clay goes,'' said John Farrell, "this will be, I'm sure, a conversation (had) within (the organization). But setting that aside, he's throwing the ball exceptionally well right now.''

That's indisputable.

But the question remains: In what capacity will he throw the ball in the near future?

There's been a suggestion to keep Buchholz in the rotation while moving Drew Pomeranz to the bullpen. That would give the Sox a dependable lefty in relief -- as opposed to, say, Fernando Abad -- while also serving the dual purpose of putting a governor on Pomeranz's climbing innings total.

Pomeranz, who has plenty of bullpen experience in the big leagues, has also thrown 140 1/3 innings this season, eclipsing his previous major league high by nearly 40.

But Pomeranz is 27, not 21. He's shown no signs of fatigue. To the contrary, he's 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his last four starts. The Sox shouldn't mess with his success.

Instead, Buchholz should become one of the team's high-leverage set-up weapons, available in the seventh or eighth inning.

True, Buchholz doesn't have the swing-and-miss capability you'd prefer to have in the eighth inning, where the fewer balls put in play, the better off you are. But he can get lefties and righties out, and, pitching out of the stretch full-time, he's greatly improved his command.

Buchholz would remain the best option for a spot start if one of the five Red Sox starters faltered or got hurt. But the bullpen remains the best choice for him.

Ironic, isn't it? When he pitched poorly, he remained in the rotation for several months. Now that he's pitching superbly, he can't earn a permanent spot.

It's been that kind of season.

McAdam: Will this be Clay Buchholz's last start?

McAdam: Will this be Clay Buchholz's last start?

With Wright and Rodriguez set to return, Sean McAdam joins SNC to discuss whether Tuesday’s game against the Rays will be the last start for Clay Buchholz.