The Red Sox added Rusney Castillo to the mix Wednesday night and...well, nothing changed. They were crushed 9-1 in one of the more depressing losses this season has had to offer.
We certainly have not seen the best of Rusney Castillo. He was quiet in his debut game, showing off his wheels by beating out an infield single, but otherwise producing a few routine outs. It's the nature of debuts to be disappointing, with everyone gearing up for a big game when the reality is there's nothing special about those plate appearances that should make them more or less impressive than any others.
If Castillo's debut doesn't deserve to be considered disappointing, the same cannot be said for Clay Buchholz' performance Wednesday night. Coming off of four solid-or-better starts, Buuchholz seemed to have finally found his rhythm in the late stages of the season. Another two starts would have let him head into the offseason with a very positive finish and maybe even a clean palette for 2015.
He didn't get there. Wednesday night saw him in midseason form in the worst kind of way. Despite having the vast PNC park to work with, Buchholz could not keep the Pirates from launching rockets. With just his eighth pitch of the game, Buchholz grooved a fastball to Gregory Polanco, who showed off some serious power with a shot deep into the right field stands that was gone the second it left the bat.
Buchholz escaped the first with just the one run thanks to a Neil Walker double play, but the second was the true disaster inning, starting with an error on Mike Napoli to allow Starling Marte to reach base with one out. Whether this left him unsettled, or it was just another of his many bad days, Buchholz proceeded to allow back-to-back doubles to Ike Davis and Clint Barmes, had the opposing pitcher single to right, and then capped off the train wreck with another solid hit allowed to Josh Harrison, putting the Red Sox behind 4-0 after just two innings.
If Buchholz had stopped the bleeding there, he might have been able to do what Joe Kelly did against the Royals, taking an early disaster and rebounding to leave at least a positive impression. Instead, the first pitch he threw in the third was a hanging changeup to Neil Walker. Gone to right again. 5-0, any hope for redemption out the window.
At the very least Buchholz' misery had company. Steven Wright came in to relieve the beleaguered righty after four innings and ended up surrendering four runs in his one frame of work, including a three-run shot to Ike Davis. By that point, though, the Red Sox had gone into full-on spring training mode, bringing as many recent call-ups into the game as possible and sending the veterans to the showers early. About the only positive came from Matt Barnes, who produced two scoreless innings toward the end to bounce back from a rough outing against the Royals.
On the whole, though, a miserable game for the Red Sox on a day which could have been a rare treat for the fanbase. Frankly, at this point, I don't know why I expected anything else.