Buchholz: Collapse 'most unbelievable thing' he's seen

566190.jpg

Buchholz: Collapse 'most unbelievable thing' he's seen

Count Clay Buchholz among those Red Sox who have apologized for drinking in the clubhouse but think the story is being blown out of proportion.

Buchholz joined the Mut and Merloni program on WEEI Thursday to discuss his team's September collapse, as well as the not-so-complimentary reports now surfacing about him and his teammates.

"Yeah, it did happen," said Buchholz about the drinking in the clubhouse. "It wasn't to the extent that it's being told right now. The whole chicken thing, it wasn't like the guys were sitting in there saying 'We're going to order chicken today.' It was, we'd come upstairs, there would be chicken on the table and it happened maybe three times this season. The whole beer thing, it was more of a rally-beer thing.

"And yeah, it might not have been right, but I feel like there have been other teams in baseball that have gone through stuff like that. Not to say it wasn't a big deal, because it was a mistake, grown men shouldn't be making those decisions like that during a baseball game, but like I said before, you've got to live with what you've done and learn from it. I'm sure it's not going to happen again because it's a lot bigger right now than everybody ever thought it would be."

When asked if he had ever seen beer in the dugout, Buchholz responded, "No. Never. Never."

Buchholz called the team's collapse "the most unbelievable thing I've ever seen." In fact, he's still not quite sure how it happened. He said the entire team expected to just show up and win every night.

"I just think the big problem this year was everybody on the team knew how good we were on paper, the best in baseball in the last 10 years or whatever," Buchholz said. "Even me, in September I'd say 'My God, how are we losing these games?' We expected to go out on the field and win. It wasn't happening and no one knew what to do."

"Shock" was the word Buchholz used to describe how it felt to see Terry Francona go, and he hopes there aren't too many changes to the team's pitching staff next season. He praised Josh Beckett, a player he looks up to, as being the team's best pitcher.

"If anything, I think Josh Beckett was different in a good way this year," Buchholz said. "He's one of the guys that I've always looked up to regardless of the situation was, he's got that killer mentality of going out and winning a game . . . He's one of the hardest workers. I mean, I'm not saying this because he's my teammate and I'm trying to cover anybody's butt, but he was in the clubhouse everyday early, got his work done, ran and did all his stuff. He was the best pitcher on our team this year. I didn't see anything different from Beckett."

But what about Beckett's visible weight-gain, Clay?

"Gaining weight is gaining weight," Buchholz said. "You still have to go out there and perform. That's just the way it is. If this game were easy, there would be more than 750 guys out there doing it. He still went out there and did his job, gave us a chance to win a game every time he went out there. That's all you can ask for from a starting pitcher."

Buchholz also said he thinks John Lackey can turn things around after his poor season.

"I hope he's back," Buchholz said. "I think he's gonna turn it around. I think he was pitching with a lot of stuff. He was hurting a bit, there was some stuff internally with him and everybody else."

The pitching staff's demise was seen by many as the team's reason for falling apart, but now, even though pitching coach Curt Young is rumored to be headed back to Oakland, Buchholz wouldn't throw Young under the bus. He did intimate that it was a much different environment with Young around compared to when John Farrell was in Boston as the pitching coach.

"It was a different personality," Buchholz said of Young. "Curt's a really laid back guy. I have nothing bad to say about Curt. He talked to me about whatever I needed to talk about. Curt is laid back. John, with John it was, I don't wanna talk to him unless I have to because I'm scared of him.

"John was more of an intense guy, a straight shooter," Buchholz added. "I dont think anybody took advantage of Young. They were two different coaches. Hard to compare guys that are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum . . . Everyone knew what their job was as starters. no one was gonna go out there and say 'Wow, I'm not gonna win this game.' Everybody knows what their job is, one person coming in isn't going to make you change how you're doing your job."

Despite the reports and despite the perceived disconnect in the Red Sox clubhouse, Buchholz thinks the Red Sox will be fine when they return for spring training in 2012.

"On paper this team is really good," he said. "We just gotta get our priorities right and move forward. This is one of the best teams in baseball regardless of what happens . . . Everyone's going to come into camp a little bit more ready to do what we need to do."

David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

red_sox_david_price_062417.jpg

David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

BOSTON — David Price and Rick Porcello showed improvement on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday, important signs for the Red Sox after a difficult month for both pitchers prior to this homestand.

Price on Saturday night went six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, in a 6-3 loss to the Angels. He fanned five and his velocity has been consistently better this year than last year.

But the most important number was his walk total: one. He walked three batters in his previous start, and four in both of his starts prior.

“Two outings ago, the first start here in Fenway,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “There was better timing in his delivery and overall better separation over the rubber. And he carried that through I thought, even though there's a higher pitch count in Houston, and has been able to maintain it here. I can't say there was one specific thing. It's been more the timing over the rubber. And you're seeing him pitch out of the stretch exclusively. Just less moving parts in a better position to repeat it.”

After Price’s final inning, the telecast captured Price calling pitching coach Carl Willis into the tunnel. Neither Farrell nor Price detailed the conversation. 

“Yeah, everything was fine,” Farrell said of the conversation. “Everything is OK there.”

Price made it sound like he’s dealing with some sort of physical ailment, but was vague.

“There's a lot of stuff going on right now,” the pitcher said when asked about the desire to stay out there. “You don't want it to linger into the next start, or two or three weeks from now, and that's why we did what we did.”

Asked to elaborate, Price reinforced that the decision was to save his body for another day.

“You never want to come out of a game. But you have to look forward at the time,” Price said. “You don’t want today to cost you your next start or you know, the start after that. So that’s what happened.

“It has nothing to do with my elbow or anything like that. This is — you get past one thing and there’s another So that’s what it is.”

Price in New York in early June felt a blister develop on his ring finger. He missed an in-between start bullpen because of it.

Asked about the blister Saturday, Price said, “That one’s gone.”

Farrell indicated the blister was diminished, if not entirely gone.

“He's been dealing with that,” Farrell said. “I think while it's still present and maybe not as severe as it was when it first happened, I'm sure he's going to check on it occasionally."

Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels

red_sox_angels_062417.jpg

Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels

BOSTON - JC Ramirez rebounded from his shortest career start with six solid innings, Cameron Maybin doubled home a run and scored another and the Los Angeles Angels held off the Boston Red Sox 6-3 on Saturday night.

The Angels look for their fifth series win in their last six on Sunday.

Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the Red Sox, who lost for only the third time in their last 13 home games.

Ramirez (7-5) allowed one run and four hits with five strikeouts after lasting just three innings and giving up five runs in his previous start.

Blake Parker struck out pinch-hitter Chris Young with the bases loaded for the final out for his first save of the season after Boston scored twice in the ninth.

Red Sox manager John Farrell was ejected by third-base umpire and crew chief Bill Miller after Fernando Abad was called for a balk, scoring a run that made it 5-1 in the seventh.