Welcome back to Read Sox. This week we look at Clay Buchholz’s injury history, Ben Cherington’s trade deadline track record and look at what could be in store for Eduardo Rodriguez for the rest of the season.
Clay Buchholz is back on the disabled list. Given this is his seventh career trip to the DL, the news is not surprising. However, it’s a crushing loss for the Red Sox, who relied on Buchholz as their de facto ace this season. Buchholz’s timetable for returning from injury is often unpredictable. This time is no different. Buchholz, who suffered from a flexor strain in his pitching elbow July 10, will receive a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday. Those results may determine how soon he rejoins the rotation. However, what’s even more unpredictable is how he will perform once he’s back. Boston.com’s Braden Campbell broke down Buchholz’s performance upon returning from each of his six prior trips to the disabled list, with the exception of 2011 because it was a season-ender. The results were mixed. An optimist will look at 2010, 2012 and 2014 as signs of hope. Buchholz posted a better ERA and walk rate upon his recovery in each of those seasons, reminding everyone of just how effective he can be when healthy. If you want reason for concern, look to 2008 and 2013. In 2008, Buchholz sported an 8.29 ERA and 5.61 BB/9 in seven starts after coming back from a right fingernail tear. In 2013, Buchholz built off a dominant first half with four solid outings to end the regular season after a freak right shoulder bursitis injury wiped out half his season, but was inconsistent in the postseason, posting a 4.60 FIP over four starts. This season, of course, will be even more unpredictable given that he’s never had this type of injury before. What is clear is that it’ll be hard to top the 2.60 FIP and 4.65 walk-to-strikeout ratio he sported in the first half of this season.
In December 2012, the Red Sox and Pirates made a trade designed to bolster Boston’s bullpen. The centerpiece of that six-player deal was Pittsburgh reliever Joel Hanrahan, who came to the Sox in exchange for Mark Melancon and three prospects. Last week, two members of that trade – Melancon and Brock Holt, who was shipped to Boston along with the now-vanished Hanrahan – participated in the All-Star Game. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo caught up with the two All-Stars in Cincinnati as both players reflected on a deal that changed their respective careers for the better. Hanrahan’s Boston career lasted a mere nine games before injury derailed his season. The trade immediately looked like a loss for the Red Sox as Melancon emerged as an elite set-up man for the Pirates, and has been strong ever since. But Holt’s rise to all-stardom has rectified that move for Cherington. Holt has gone from an unknown minor leaguer to an everyday super-utility man, a fan favorite and one of the most dependable hitters in the Boston lineup, as his .279 true average and .344 wOBA suggests. In fact, as far as WARP is concerned, Holt has been the most valuable player from that deal, posting a 3.6 mark in a season in a half with the Sox. Melancon owns a 3.0 WARP in two and a half seasons in Pittsburgh.
With the trade deadline less than two weeks away, the Red Sox have a decision to make. The standings tell us Boston is still in the hunt for the playoffs. But if the Sox continue on the path they’ve taken since returning from the All-Star break, the reality is they’ll once again be sellers at the deadline. Either way, the future of the Red Sox is in Cherington’s hands. Tim Britton of the Providence Journal broke down Cherington’s deadline performance since taking over as Boston’s general manager. There has been plenty to like – Andrew Miller for Rodriguez was a clear win – but plenty that leave us shaking our heads, too.
Speaking of E-Rod, the rookie lefty lasted just 1.2 innings in a seven-run disaster in Anaheim on Monday. Even with the meltdown, Rodriguez is still the team’s best pitcher while Buchholz is on the mend. WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford explains why the Red Sox can’t rely on Rodriguez to be their ace for the rest of the season. Rodriguez’s 102.2 innings between Triple-A and the major leagues this season put him awfully close to his career-high 145 frames tossed in 2014. Bradford suggests Boston think long-term and strictly monitor his innings the rest of the way, which means he can’t be asked to carry a similar workload in the final two months.
MassLive.com’s Jen McCaffrey spent time with Mookie Betts’ friends, family and former high school coach in the Nashville, Tennessee, area at one point this season. The result was a series of intriguing stories about the rookie center fielder, most notably this feature McCaffrey posted during the All-Star break.
With a strong season in Low-A Greenville, Michael Kopech has turned into one of the most promising pitching prospects in the Red Sox organization. But the righty’s season came to an abrupt end last Friday after being slapped with a 50-game suspension after testing positive for the stimulant, Oxilofrine.
Three Good Game Stories
As Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald writes, Wade Miley’s gem was not enough as Boston’s offense was anemic in a 1-0 loss to the Angels capped off by Mike Trout’s walkoff home run.
Rodriguez was bad in Monday’s 11-1 loss to the Angels in the first game of a double header. But, as Gordon Edes writes, Red Sox manager John Farrell said it’s not because the rookie was tipping his pitches.
CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam explains how an inability make adjustments on the mound hurt Steven Wright in the Sox’s 7-3 loss to the Angels Monday night.
Photo by Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports Images