Wakeup call: The Yankee slide continues

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Wakeup call: The Yankee slide continues

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, September 4:

BASEBALL
They call it schadenfreude, and, personally, I'm not very big on it. Still, Red Sox fans looking for something, anything, to cheer about in these dark days may only have to look about 200 miles to the south. (AP)

One game out on September 4. This is one time where Castiglione-speak -- "Can you believe it?!?" -- actually applies. (CSN Baltimore)

Even though the baseball season has flatlined hereabouts, some recent Sox are finding it quite exciting. Right, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett? (AP)

Right, Kevin Youlkilis? (CSN Chicago)

Right, Marco Scutaro? (CSN Bay Area)

It's not really the optimal time for Jared Weaver to come down with shoulder problems. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Ditto the Rays' Jeff Niemann. (Hardball Talk)

The Red Sox can't do it, but someone's able to beat the A's. (CSN Bay Area)

The Giants -- again (or is it still?) -- wish Pablo Sandoval would push away from the table every once in a while. (Hardball Talk)

For the first time in 43 years, we have a winner in Washington. (CSN Washington)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
All's well that ends well, eh Virginia Tech? (NBC's College Football Talk)

Florida State's two-time All-ACC defensive lineman, Brandon Jenkins, is out for the season. (College Football Talk) Quite a price to pay for beating Murray State, 69-3.

Honey Badger's staying at LSU. (AP)

GOLF
That third-place finish in Norton made Tiger Woods the first 100 million man in PGA history. (AP)

Someone really ought to teach Luke Donald how to use Twitter. (AP)

HOCKEY
Dion Phaneuf and Elisha Cuthbert are tying the knot. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
Judging by how Magic fans are reacting, Dwight Howard should have saved the money he spent on that full-page ad. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

His NBA days may be over, but Allen Iverson is still in the headlines . . . albeit for all the wrong reasons. (CSN Philly)

PRO FOOTBALL
The Patriots are 10 million under the cap as the season begins. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Who needs training camp? Mike Wallace says he's good to go. (AP)

Maurice Jones-Drew is "ready to roll", too, but the Jaguars are going to limit his rolling on Sunday to third down. (AP)

And Brian Urlacher, who also missed most of camp (but for non-financial reasons), says he's playing Sunday as well, though no one's promising how effective he'll be. (AP)

The David Garrard Era in Miami may prove to be spectacularly short. (AP)

Tim Tebow. Jets. Wildcat. Getcher popcorn ready, Buffalo. (AP)

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.