Buchholz stepping up to ace territory

787526.jpg

Buchholz stepping up to ace territory

BOSTON -- Righthander Clay Buchholz was able to accomplish something Monday night a Red Sox starting pitcher had been unable to do in nearly two weeks. Earn a win.

Buchholz went eight innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits, including a home run. He walked two, struck out four and improved to 9-3 while lowering his ERA to 4.75, as the Sox beat the Tigers 7-3 at Fenway Park.

The last Sox starting pitcher to earn a W was Felix Doubront on July 18 against the White Sox.

Since posting wins in four consecutive starts from June 1-19, Buchholz had gone 0-1 with a 2.53 ERA in his past three starts. The Sox, though, were 2-1 in those three games.
It quickly appeared Buchholz was headed for a similar fate in this game. He gave up a leadoff home run to Austin Jackson on his second pitch of the game.

It was the fourth time Buchholz has allowed a leadoff home run, and first since April 20, 2011, in Oakland when Coco Crisp opened with a homer. It snapped a string of 26 13 innings for Buchholz without allowing a home run, since the second inning on June 19.

Still, after allowing the next batter, Quintin Berry, to reach on a double off the wall, Buchholz retired the next three to end the inning with no further damage.

He got out of another jam with minimal damage in the third. After Omar Infante led off with a triple, Jackson walked. With one out, Miguel Cabreras single to center scored Infante. A walk to Prince Fielder loaded the bases. But Buchholz got Delmon Young to ground into a double play, ending the inning.

Buchholz third (and unearned) run allowed came in the seventh when Brennan Boesch struck out but reached on catcher Kelly Shoppachs throwing error. With one out, Alex Avilas double to right scored Boesch.

Boesch and Avila were the only Detroit baserunners to reach after the third.

I thought he was spectacular, said manager Bobby Valentine. Leaving the runner on base in the first inning and getting the ground ball double play with the bases loaded, it was cruising from that point on. He got his ball down, threw great off-speed stuff, really good changeup, curveball, cutter and gave us eight great innings.

Buchholzs outing was not what he experienced in his bullpen warm-up.

In the bullpen I was up in the zone, he said. Im not saying that you take your bullpen into the game but the release point was a little off and balls were up. With a team like this when you leave balls middle of the plate, you get hit pretty hard. So that was that and then I was able to miss the barrel. They're a team that everyone knows they're aggressive. Theyre a fastball hitting team and they had a couple of guys in there that can hit strike off-speed stuff too pretty well. So, its a more mix-and-match game and I was able to miss the fat part of the bat for the most part.

Limiting the damage in the first inning something Sox pitchers have had difficulty with this season was a key.

The next guy hits a double and more times than not the runner scores from second, too, Buchholz said. So I was just trying to find a way to keep him at second base or third base and not let him get across the plate. It was a pitch-by-pitch deal where me and Shop had a pretty good flow going, too. And there wasnt a whole lot of shaking off tonight so I think that had a lot to do with it.

Buchholz has become the Sox most reliable starter. In his last nine starts since May 27, he is 5-1 with a 2.44 ERA, giving up 18 earned runs in 66 13 innings. In his last eight starts since June 1, the Sox are 7-1. He has allowed just four earned runs over his last three starts since July 19, spanning 23 innings, for a 1.57 ERA.

I feel good, he said. Its just I have a little bit of confidence and going out and throwing well just builds confidence and adds to what you already had so it definitely feels good. I feel like theres always something you could work on to change and get better at and I think thats going to be every start. Theres going to be something that you could do better but everything feels in sync right now. Thats the working part of it. Youve got to find a way four days in between to keep yourself where youre at and not lose anything.

Where hes at now is different than where he was early in the season, perhaps still dealing with the effect of the stress fracture in his lower back that ended last season for him after just 14 starts. After his first eight starts this season, Buchholz was 4-2 with a 7.77 ERA, with the Sox were 4-4 in those games.

Yeah, the stuffs the same. I feel like the stuff Im throwing is the same, he said. For the most part Im off middle of the plate a little more and ground balls that are getting hit right at guys just werent hit at them early in the year. They were just out of their reach and two runs would score on a ground ball like that. So a little bit of luck involved and the confidence part of it, being able to throw a pitch with conviction rather than second-guessing it.

And getting wins.

Taiwanese broadcaster had shocking call for Manny Ramirez's homer

manny-ramirez-4-30-17.jpg

Taiwanese broadcaster had shocking call for Manny Ramirez's homer

A Taiwanese announcer's call outshined Hanley Ramirez's homer.

In a video that made rounds on the internet Sunday, the Taiwanese broadcaster delivered a laughable response to Ramirez's homer.

"This ball is long gone! Just like the ex-girlfriend who will never return! Home run!" the man yelled.

The hit took place a few years ago when he was in the Taiwanese league. He is now playing in Japan. But frankly, he many never have another home run as epic as that one. And he certainly won't get a call as epic as that one.

Watch the video in the tweet below.

Red Sox-Orioles series expected to begin with closest thing to warnings

Red Sox-Orioles series expected to begin with closest thing to warnings

If you're stupid, you're probably gone.

As standard operating procedure, umpiring crews no longer start series with warnings to either team. So when the Orioles and Red Sox kick off a four-game set at Fenway Park on Monday, technically, no official warning will be in place for the other side.

But the closest thing to a warning likely will be implemented. Umpires are expected to be made specifically aware of the recent history with Manny Machado, Dustin Pedroia and Matt Barnes, a baseball source told CSNNE — a sort of “heads up” that should create very little tolerance for any further drama.

In some situations, MLB reminds teams as well that the expectation is a game be played, not a repeat of past incidents. It’s unclear if that conversation will happen or has happened here.

The way the Red Sox and Orioles were talking after Barnes threw too close to Machado’s head, it sounded like a situation that’s wisely been put to bed. Not forgotten, but not something that requires action as it stands today.

Showalter a week ago Sunday praised his team for not retaliating. Machado, who started it all by spiking Pedroia, showed restraint when the pitch went behind him. Pedroia apologized publicly and dramatically, and Barnes apologized and dropped the appeal of his four-game suspension. (Barnes is to return Sunday.)

If indeed this chapter of the feud dies, Pedroia deserves some credit for that.

No Orioles player was hit by a pitch or hurt in the end. The only one injured was Pedroia. Despite the stupidity of where Barnes’ attempted retaliatory pitch went, it’d be hard for the Orioles to justify needing revenge at this point.

Zach Britton, who bizarrely questioned Pedroia’s leadership because he was unable to prevent Barnes’ pitch, told BaltimoreBaseball.com the Orioles were waiting to see how the Red Sox move forward. 

“That’s up to them. Well see what they do in Boston,” Britton told reporter Dan Connolly. “I think we’ve talked about it already, as a team, and we’ll see how they choose to act — whether or not they choose to act professionally or unprofessionally when we get to Boston.”

Pedro Martinez said he would have drilled Machado, not because he detected intent for Machado to harm, but because that's nonetheless what happens after you spike a guy like Pedroia.

"Barnesy did not mean to throw the ball at Machado’s head," Martinez said. "That’s another thing. But the results at the end were the right ones. If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado as much as I love him. And it didn’t matter what happened, the only thing I would have done differently was probably [throw] the ball a little bit lower. But everything else was nature of baseball. I think it’s something that’s going to happen. It’s part of baseball. Hopefully it won’t linger around for too long, or nobody will make it personal.”