BOSTON -- Clay Buchholz is 9-0, with an American League-leading 1.71 ERA. The Red Sox are 11-1 in his starts. But, they enter Wednesday’s game 8-8 since Buchholz has been on the DL.
Manager John Farrell was asked his thoughts on the rotation's performance in Buchholz’s absence.
“What John Lackey (4-5, 3.03 ERA) continues to do has been not only consistent but even in the offseason we felt like he was one guy who had a chance to impact the team as much as anyone,” Farrell said. “And he’s doing that. So he’s kind of taken on a greater significance as we go deeper into the season by his performance.
“Evident by [Ryan Dempster’s] (5-8, 4.15) performance last night, he’s been pretty much what we anticipated. He’s been dependable. We know he’s going to walk out there for a minimum of six innings, seven innings.
“We’ve got to get Jon Lester (7-4, 4.57; 1-3, 7.81 in his last five starts) back on track. There’s no denying that. He’d be the first to admit to that as well. And there are signs in each outing that that is imminent. But until that’s strung together a little bit more consistently, and more than anything it’s the innings. When you get through a turn in the rotation and you got two guys going beyond the fifth inning, that’s going to show up in other areas, in particular the bullpen.”
Farrell said Lester’s issues are not health-related.
“He’s sound, healthy,” Farrell said. “I think he’s doing a typical job of repeating his delivery. It's the consistency of executing, particularly with two outs when we get into a situation with men on base. There’s been I think at times he’ll rush a little bit to get thru a given inning and that might cause that inning to be prolonged. And one example is the 0-2 base hit to Torii Hunter the other day. Miguel Cabrera’s going to get his base this, he’s going to drive the ball out of the ballpark. But leading up to those, the extra-base hit that seems to be the focal point that lead up to that. And that’s what we’re honing in on.
“I don’t’ think it’s delivery related. it’s s a matter of being consistent with the execution, and at some point there’s a blend of all three and that’s mental, psychical, and fundamental, those are the main elements that every player deals with. But at this point it’s in those situations where he’s in that 22-25-ptich range to execute a pitch to put up a zero and shut a threat off.”
Asked if thought his team could contend without a fully performing Lester, Farrell replied:
“Well I don't think it will continue. I don’t think Jon Lester’s stretch he’s on will continue. He’s too talented of a pitcher. I firmly believe and am confident that the group we have here are capable of keeping us in the position we are over the next three months. And at the same time if you were to ask each guy individually they know they have a responsibility to themselves, to us as a team, to maintain the pace that we’re on.
“And there’s talent here, there's no question about it. We’re dealing with a couple of things health-wise with some guys that will come back to us. So this is an ongoing thing. I don’t’ think any pitcher, player is just in a static state where every time that they walk on a field is going to be the same. But it’s a constant work in progress and Jon is no different than anyone else.”
- As expected, right-hander Clayton Mortensen was activated from the DL today, with right-hander Pedro Beato optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room on the 25-man roster.
- Farrell said former closer Andrew Bailey is now considered a middle reliever. Asked why he chose not to bring Bailey into Tuesday night’s game, when the Sox had a sizable lead late in the game in the eventual 11-4 win, Farrell said he wanted to bring in Beato, who the manager knew would most likely be going back to Pawtucket after the game.