Yankees outslug Red Sox

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Yankees outslug Red Sox

It began as a slugfest. It ended as a battle of the bullpens,
one the Red Sox lost, and with it, the game.
After rallying from a 5-0 hole in the first inning, the Red
Sox took the lead by mid-game, but squandered when they allowed four
runs in the seventh inning, resulting in a 10-8 win for the
Yankees.
It was the first meeting between the two rivals in nearly three
months and it ended the same way the first two meetings in April did
-- with a loss for the Sox.
The loss dropped the Sox 8 12 games behind the Yankees, their
biggest deficit of the season.
The Sox took their first lead of the night when third baseman
Mauro Gomez recorded his first major league RBI, singling home Adrian
Gonzalez.
But the Yankees got to the Red Sox bullpen in the seventh, capped
by a two-run triple by Mark Teixeira off Vicenta Padilla. That triple
scored two inherited runners, or one more than Padilla had allowed to
score all season.
In the first two innings, the two teams traded runs like heavyweights
trading punches. After the Yankees got to Josh Beckett for five in the
top of the first, the Sox counter-punched with five of their own in the
bottom of the inning off Hiroki Kuroda, led by a three-run homer from
Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
It was more of the same in the second when a run-scoring double
by Robinson Cano was answer, an RBI single from David Ortiz.

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.