Valentine sees positives in Buchholz' start

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Valentine sees positives in Buchholz' start

BOSTON With a record of 3-1, Clay Buchholz is leading Red Sox pitchers. This, despite an ERA of 8.69 and not throwing a quality start yet in any of his five outings, the only Sox starter who has not done so.

Manager Bobby Valentine met with the right-hander Tuesday afternoon.

Monday night against the As, the team with the worst offense in baseball, Buchholz went 623 innings, giving up six runs on seven hits, five walks, and a hit batter, with five strikeouts. He earned the win, but failed to get through seven innings despite a 10-run lead. He has gone seven innings just once, in his second start, against the Rays on April 14.

In several of his outings, most of the damage against him has been done in one big inning, as it was last night when the As scored five runs in the seventh a season high for runs scored in one inning for Oakland.

Much of Buchholzs success can be attributed to his American League-best run support average of 10.86. He was the beneficiary of all the teams offense last night in the 11-6 win.

Manager Bobby Valentine said Buchholz was dealing with a blister problem Monday night.

They tell me its a chronic, its a little thing that pops up often when hes throwing well because that curveball grip, Valentine said. It sure comes off the fingers so hot. And he doctors it and pitches with it. He never complained about it and it was never an issue during the game. Im bringing it up just because it popped up in the report after the game.

Still, Buchholz and Valentine have been able to see the positives in his outings.

He really liked the way the ball was coming out of his hand, Valentine said. So did pitching coach Bob McClure. So did I the majority of the time last night and I know everyone wants to look at the numbers and the numbers really arent pretty except for the 3-1 and a lot of innings havent been pretty. The idea that he can improve is absolutely paramount in all of our minds. He just left my office where we talked about that. Theres no doubt that he has plenty of room for improvement.

Perhaps Buchholz is still rusty after missing much of last season with a stress fracture in his lower back. He made his last start June 16, spending the rest of the season on the disabled list.
Its hard for me to tell what the cause and effect of these things are, Valentine said. Im not sure that hes totally comfortable with all of his pitches yet. I think he's had games where hes really liked his two-seamer, really liked his curve ball, really liked his changeup at different times. But they havent been the total package the entire time. Last night he pitched through a blister situation most of the night which might have contributed a little to his command. He does it often.

The pitches that he's featuring should be correlating to better numbers. They should correlate because they're pretty good pitches. Not a lot of the other arms in the league are featuring the pitches that he's featuring. I can't go by whats happened in the past because I really dont have that barometer.

Valentine met with Buchholz in his office Tuesday afternoon.

Just talked about whats going on, Valentine said. It was the most relaxed that I've seen him all year. The most natural. I think thats a good sign.

Tonight's lineups: Red Sox at White Sox

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Tonight's lineups: Red Sox at White Sox

The Red Sox face a left-hander -- Carlos Rondon, in this case -- for the second night in a row as they play the middle game of their three-night series in Chicago against the White Sox.

The lineups:

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Chris Young LF
Travis Shaw 3B
Christian Vazquez C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
---
Clay Buchholz P

WHITE SOX:
Adam Eaton RF
Jimmy Rollins SS
Jose Abreu 1B
Todd Frazier 3B
Melky Cabrera LF
Brett Lawrie 2B
Jerry Sands DH
Dioner Navarro C
Austin Jackson CF
---
Carlos Rondon P

Jeter: Sox fans 'softer' and 'treat me better' after winning three titles

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Jeter: Sox fans 'softer' and 'treat me better' after winning three titles

There was a time not too long ago when the New York Yankees would fear for their lives when they came into Boston.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t that serious.

But go back to the early 2000s and the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees was about as heated as could be.

On one side was the Evil Empire: George Steinbrenner, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens,etc. On the other was the Red Sox: Pedro Martinez, Jason Varitek, Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, etc.

Those were the days.

Then the Red Sox came back from three games down in the 2004 ALCS, beat the Yankees, and went on to win the World Series. Then they won the World Series again in 2007. And again in 2013.

All that winning changed the narrative around here. The frustration and anger of  years of disappointment was replaced by joy.

Welcome to Friendly Fenway.

Suddenly, players like Jeter could come to town and even go out to dinner without being heckled by diehard Sox fans.

On Late Night with Seth Meyers, Jeter told Meyers -- a Red Sox fan -- about how Sox fans have gone soft since their team started winning.
    
“It doesn’t happen anymore,” he said about being heckled outside Fenway. “I can say this now because I’m retired. Boston fans have softened up since you guys have won. It pains me to say it, but . . . I won’t say it. I’m not happy you won. But you treat me a lot better since you won.”

Time for Red Sox to clear away Clay

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Time for Red Sox to clear away Clay

In our Early Edition production meeting, someone said Clay Buchholz was pitching for his job tonight.

Sorry, not anymore.

As soon as Steven Wright pitched well for the fifth straight time last night, Buchholz's train left the station. It’s time to do with Clay what the Sox did to Panda: Make up an injury, fake a surgery (okay, that’s all a bit of an overstatement with Sandoval) and get him out of the way.

As soon as the White Sox said goodbye to John Danks, we all said the same thing: If Chicago can do it, why can’t Boston? Danks was to start tonight against Buchholz, but the Chisox said "No more" and paid off the final year of his $65 million contract. The Bosox -- haven’t heard that term in a while, have you? -- could do the same with Clay and the $13 million he's owed for this season, plus a $500,000 buyout at the end of the year. 

David Price is the No. 1 starter and eventually he'll be fine. Eduardo Rodriquez gave up three runs in six innings last night for Pawtucket and will soon be ready to take his spot in the No. 2 slot. Then there's my pick to click, Rick Porcello (with a 2.76 ERA), and the previously mentioned Wright with his 1.76 ERA. Wright was supposed to be the odd man out when E-Rod returned, but that’s not happening. So there are your top four starters. And what about Joe Kelly when he comes back? I would rather see Kelly and anyone from Pawtucket pitch in the fifth spot instead of Buchholz and his 6.51 ERA.

Is there any reason to keep Buchholz?  Not that I can see. Clay can throw his second career no-hitter tonight and my feelings won't change.

It’s time to move on from Clay Buchholz.