The Red Sox have not exactly been challenged by the last few starters they came up against. Jason Marquis, Nick Blackburn, and Liam Hendriks, each knocked out early with a good few runs. Tonight, they come up against a man who had nothing of the sort happen in his last start: Phil Humber.
But this isn't a link, because what would we link? Let's get to the blue text.
On the back of last night's sweep-completing win, some of the Sox might be feeling pretty decent. One who almost certainly doesn't? Justin Thomas. Once again showing a complete inability to record important outs, Thomas also endured a rather more traumatic event, blasting Chris Parmelee in the head with an errant pitch. Talking to ESPN later that night, he shared his thoughts.
One wonders if, out in center field, Marlon Byrd was having flashbacks to his at bat against Alfredo Aceves last year. Luckily, Parmelee doesn't seem to have suffered nearly so much damage as Byrd did.
Also ugly last night was the performance of Clay Buchholz, who Bobby Valentine calls "very much improved" compared to his most recent starts.
A high bar, that.
Yes, Buchholz was better. He did manage to keep the ball down better than in his first few outings. But that doesn't change the fact that he was bad. Hittable, wild early on, and just generally unimpressive, there's very little to recommend Clay Buchholz right now.
What really caught my eye, however, was this gem from Clay:
"It's a struggle when you're throwing pitches and guys put the ball in play -- it's either in the infield or outfield and nobody is standing there," Buchholz said. "That's the way it goes. It's got to change. It can't stay that way all year."
No, Clay, just no. You are not the victim of BABIP. You have been its biggest beneficiary in recent years, but the problem this year is the tiny strikeout rate, the mediocre walk rate, the fact that none of your pitches are the least bit tempting to swing at unless that meatballs.
What has to change is Clay Buchholz' pitching. Not his luck.
Ready for more injury fun time? Cody Ross was lifted from last night's game due to a sore left knee! Fun!
According to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, the reason why Ross left early--back when it seemed like the Sox had a solid lead--was a knee he twisted in an earlier at bat. While Ross wasn't particularly concerned with it, Bobby Valentine noticed Ross flexing it and pulled him early, just in case.
The last thing the Sox need now, of course, is another injured outfielder. With Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford already out, it's only thanks to contributions from guys like Ross (currently hitting .267/.328/.567) that the Sox' record is at 7-10 rather than, say, 4-13 or 3-14. It doesn't sound like this is anything seriously, but the way things go with the Sox, perhaps it's just best to wait for confirmation before we raise our hopes with speculation..
Daisuke Matsuzaka is moving on from the first part of his rehab assignment and on to the Portland Sea Dogs.
Daisuke wasn't exactly dominant in his first rehab start, but given all the rust that needs shaking off that's not terribly surprised. The more salient point, perhaps, is that the Sox were comfortable enough with his performance to move him on to step #2. At this pace, he could be just a few weeks away from rejoining the Red Sox proper.
What that means for the likes of Clay Buchholz and/or Daniel Bard, however...that remains to be seen.
Oh, and here's something about a Red Sox Poet Laureate. I'm fairly certain the existence of such a figure is one of those things I alternately discover and forget on a regular basis. Look forward to a similar link on August 5, 2013.