Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Darnell McDonald (54) delivers a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles during the 17th inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
Who has more trouble keeping their cutter* down in the zone, anyway? Darnell McDonald, whose position is in fact located in the outfield, or Clay Buchholz, who at one point in time sure resembled a starting pitcher.
*It's tough to believe the pitch classifications for an outfielder who throws everything around 80 mph, but just go with this.
You laugh (or maybe you're crying, reminded that no, yesterday's game was not, in fact, part of a terrible afternoon dream). But Buchholz missed up with his pitches plenty, too, and even threw in another significant grouping low and out of the zone to drive that pitch count up into the sky. Which, coincidentally, is part of the reason that it came down to Darnell McDonald on the mound in extra innings anyway.
Yes, the Red Sox burned through their bullpen as the game became nearly double the length it was meant to be. But had the bullpen first come out in the seventh or even the sixth instead of the fourth, there's a bit more life left to go in it. It doesn't help that the pen was coming off of a game in which it had to clean up after Aaron Cook's knee was ripped apart at the plate, either.
Today is day four of 20 games in 20 days. Now would be a good time for the rotation to step up and keep another McDonald outing from occurring. No offense, Darnell -- this isn't your doing.