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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Buchholz (Clay)”


Clay Buchholz twirled another gem: seven innings, six hits, two runs (neither earned), one walk, and three strikeouts. Even better for an American League pitcher in a National League park: he didn’t injure himself in his three plate appearances. He was his own worst enemy in the sixth inning. Buchholz got the first two outs in six pitches but then surrendered a single to Cameron Maybin, walked Nick Markakis, and gave up another single to Juan Uribe. With the bases loaded A.J. Pierzynski tapped the ball to Buchholz. The starter gathered it and had to motion to David Ortiz to get to first base. He must have thought he lost too much time even though it was Pierzynski running to first and flipped the ball to Ortiz with his glove. The ball flew beyond Ortiz’s reach and Maybin and Markakis scored. The visitors prevailed despite Buchholz’s error. No single hitter dominated but nearly everyone played a part in advancing and scoring runners. A ratio of 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position isn’t remarkable but it is a sight better than a goose egg. Koji Uehara tallied his 14th save with a pristine ninth inning. He struck out former teammate Jonny...

The Castillo Show

Rusney Castillo was pivotal to this game. Defensively he robbed Aaron Hicks of a home run in the top of the eighth inning. In the seventh with two outs Xander Bogaerts ricocheted the ball high off the wall below the flagpole in center field, just missing a home run. Sandy Leon worked a five-pitch walk off Mike Pelfrey. Castillo followed with a gutshot single that plated the only run of the game. Your browser does not support iframes. Clay Buchholz continued his post-haircut excellence. The slim starter went eight innings giving up just three hits and two walks while striking out eight. Your browser does not support iframes. In sync with Buchholz’s jersey number Koji Uehara took over in the ninth to tally his 11th save. Uehara allowed a walk to Trevor Plouffe with two out but induced a fly ball to center for the final out. Game 52: June 2, 2015 Minnesota Twins30-20 0 L: Mike Pelfrey (4-2) No extra base hits Boston Red Sox23-29 1 W: Clay Buchholz (3-6)S: Koji Uehara (11) 2B: Mike Napoli (6), Xander Bogaerts (6)...

Layne Change

Clay Buchholz threw for eight near-brilliant innings; the only blemish on his line was a home run surrendered to Seth Smith in the sixth. He struck out 11 batters, walked none, and allowed just three hits. Tommy Layne was to hold the line in the ninth and did fairly well: he notched two outs but gave up a single to Brad Miller. John Farrell pulled Layne in favor of Junichi Tazawa to face Nelson Cruz. Cruz worked the count full then laced the ball into deep left. The Mariners celebrated the victory like they won the pennant. The phrase “act like you’ve been there before comes to mind,” but since this is Seattle it’s more “Gatorade showers are so cliché, we hoist people over our shoulders and do water baths now.” Note to the Mariners marketing crew: fedoras are so eight years ago. You need to update to porkpie or newsboy cap nights. Excellent call on Negro Leagues Night planned for Saturday night, however. Game 36: May 15, 2015 Boston Red Sox17-19 1 L: Tommy Layne (0-1) 3B: Xander Bogaerts (3) Seattle Mariners16-19 2 W: Tom Wilhelmsen (1-0) 2B: Robinson Cano (12)HR: Seth Smith (3)...

What You Talkin’ ’Bout, Willis?

Well, whatever new pitching coach Carl Willis said to Clay Buchholz, it worked. Buchholz pitched for six and a third innings with seven hits, three earned runs, three strikeouts, and three walks. It wasn’t his best outing but it was good enough to tally his first win since Opening Day. I hope it wasn’t Willis’s idea for Buchholz’s new hairstyle. What if this look took rotation and bullpen by storm? Perhaps they would get better results as the batters just couldn’t focus on the ball. As much as Buchholz’s lack of imploding helped, so did the revival of two hitters. Mike Napoli and Pablo Sandoval both clubbed home runs. That both of them only have three circuit clouts to their name as of this game is indicative that starting pitching isn’t this team’s only problem. At times Boston batters would make excellent contact but get robbed by fabulous fielding. Mookie Betts nearly fell victim to this in the first inning. He laced the ball to deep center and Kevin Pillar almost made a Betts-level play on it. Pillar gloved the ball but it came loose when he landed. Betts was driven in by Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox scored...

Buch Off

Clay Buchholz had another frustrating start in Tuesday evening’s game. He lasted just 2⅔ innings with 6 hits, 4 earned runs, a walk, and 4 strikeouts. The bullpen didn’t help contain the Blue Jays, either. All of them except Robbie Ross, Jr. surrendered at least one run. What is Hanley Ramirez looking at in the lofty heights besides his slugging percentage? Could it be Buchholz’s ever burgeoning ERA? Or perhaps Jose Bautista’s monstrous foul ball that broke a light in a sign? It may even be Mookie Betts’s IQ. Game 21: April 28, 2015 Toronto Blue Jays10-11 11 W: Marco Estrada (1-0)H: Liam Hendriks (1)S: Brett Cecil (1) 2B: Kevin Pillar (6)3B: Ryan Goins (1)HR: Jose Bautista (5), Josh Donaldson (5) Boston Red Sox11-10 8 L: Clay Buchholz (1-3) 2B: Pablo Sandoval – 2 (4), Mookie Betts (4), David Ortiz (3)HR: Hanley Ramirez (9)...

Outpaced and Out Aced

Losing this game felt like a foul ball off the face. Just ask the kid who was tagged by Brock Holt’s foul ball in the third inning. Holt went 3-for-4 in the leadoff spot. Had other Red Sox players managed to get multiple hits off Chris Tillman and the Baltimore relievers they might have won, but only David Ortiz matched Holt’s production. Tillman lapsed slightly in the sixth frame. Ortiz led off with a double to the low fences in right. Hanley Ramirez grounded out to short to advanced Ortiz to third base. Tillman didn’t concentrate on Pablo Sandoval’s grounder and failed to glove it. Ortiz crossed home plate and Sandoval was safe at first. Clay Buchholz could have allowed many more runs to score than he did. He escaped bases loaded jams in the fourth and fifth innings. If I had to choose between watching a Buchholz start and a sideline reporter segment on fashion tips, I would choose the latter. Here Gary Striewski demonstrated that a pocket square can add some flash to a traditional suit. Ken Rosenthal exhibited a bowtie with lapel pin. The quirkiness of the bowtie shouldn’t compete with a pocket square or boutonnière, particularly...

Calamitous Clay

In a rare turn of events the Red Sox-Yankees game was more bloody than a “Game of Thrones” episode. Only one high-profile character died in the premiere episode of the fifth season. In the Bronx Chase Headley, Stephen Drew, and Brian McCann all bloodied Boston pitchers with home runs. At first I thought that Clay Buchholz and Masahiro Tanaka had swapped places, one having an excellent start the first week to fall to pieces to next and vice versa. But instead Buchholz proved maddeningly inconsistent by starting off brilliantly and falling off precipitously in his second start. Buchholz April 6: 7 innings pitched, 3 hits, 0 earned runs, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts April 12: 3⅓ innings pitched, 9 hits, 9 earned runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts Tanaka April 6: 4 innings pitched, 5 hits, 5 earned runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts April 12: 5 innings pitched, 4 hits, 4 earned runs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts Tanaka, on the other hand, was consistently mediocre. David Ortiz led off the fourth inning and advanced two bases on wild pitches. From second base he taunted Jacoby Ellsbury. The Red Sox lost this game but won the series, so perhaps some of Ortiz’s ribbing...


Ten years ago come this May I was at the Hall of Fame to celebrate my birthday. The Boston squad was enjoying its reign as the world champions so it wasn’t painful to see case after case of Yankee greatness in Cooperstown. If you thought it was all a dream you only had look over at a case full of Red Sox memorabilia from 2004. I had planned my visit around the Hall of Fame Game between the Tigers and the Red Sox. The Red Sox lost 6-4 but we got to see Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez play. These two highly touted prospects were going to power the player development machine that Theo Epstein envisioned. The 2004 Red Sox were not going to be one-and-done if the organization stuck to Epstein’s vision. The 2005 Red Sox tied the Yankees’ regular season record of 95-67 but placed second because of their head-to-head record. They were swept by the Chicago White Sox in the American League Divisional Series. The South Siders went on to break their 88-year championship drought. Rather than patiently grow their drafted talent the Red Sox traded Ramirez, Sanchez, Jesus Delgado, and Harvey Garcia for Josh Beckett, Guillermo...

Blanket Statement

Lindsay Buchholz visited Don and Jerry in the booth to talk about all the wonderful work her and her husband’s charitable foundation does for Boston-area children. You can read more about the Clay Buchholz Foundation and how they support charitable organizations that give aid to children who are undergoing critical medical procedures. It was cool how Lindsay got into the tense play in the third. Ben Zobrist singled to Yoenis Cespedes with Yunel Escobar at second base. Cespedes gunned down Escobar at home, which prompted an excited shout from Mrs. Buchholz. She was one of the few people that were really into the game. With both teams out of contention, Daniel Nava getting hit by a pitch didn’t elicit any opprobrium from the crowd. Buchholz hit Brandon Guyer with a pitch in the eighth but again no eyebrows were raised as there was a runner on and one out. After Guyer reached base he scored on Zobrist’s two-RBI double, which gave the Rays a 2-1 lead. Cespedes didn’t have a great read on Zobrist’s fly ball and jumped at the wrong time. David DeJesus plated Zobrist and at that point Buchholz seemed to mail it in. His pitches inside to...

No Postcode Envy

Well, perhaps a little envy exists for the Royals, who are battling for the AL Central pennant against the Detroit Tigers. Kansas City looked like anything but a team poised for the playoffs; the defense gave up two runs because of errors. Will Middlebrooks scored in the second inning when Eric Hosmer let Christian Vazquez’s grounder slip between his legs into right field. Vazquez led off the fourth inning and reached first because Alcides Escobar couldn’t get a handle on Vazquez’s ground ball. Mookie Betts singled to Mike Moustakas, who threw poorly to Hosmer. Vazquez took third on the error but was thrown out at home by Moustakas. In prior games this sort of nascent rally would be staunched easily but David Ortiz ripped a single up the middle to plate Betts and give his team a two-run lead. In the eighth frame Jemile Weeks tallied his first double of the season. It was a clutch clout that Hosmer couldn’t nab before it escaped down the right field line. Middlebrooks and Vazquez, who both worked walks, scored on the scorcher. Even though the Red Sox have the worst record in the AL East they can surprise with a win against...


Clay Buchholz displayed flashes of his former self on Saturday evening. John Farrell pulled him in the seventh inning after the pitcher led off the frame by hitting Danny Valencia and inducing a pop out to second from Kevin Pillar. Up to that point Buchholz had fanned five, walked two batters, and gave up four hits. Craig Breslow relieved Buchholz and surrendered a home run to pinch hitter Colby Rasmus. The outfielder wrapped the ball around Pesky’s Pole to pull his team within a run. Farrell called on a trio of Boston relievers who did what Breslow failed to do; the Blue Jays were held scoreless from that point. Burke Badenhop, Drake Britton, and Edward Mujica only allowed a hit and two walks in their combined 2⅔ frames. Another player making good on his potential was Will Middlebrooks. The third baseman singled with the bases loaded in the second inning to give his team the lead 2-1. He worked a walk in the fourth and scored on Christian Vazquez’s high double off the wall that made the score 4-1, the key run of the game. Your browser does not support iframes. Mookie Betts has been doing so well he batted...

Artful Clay

Clay Buchholz returned to his heyday on Sunday. He twirled all nine innings and held the Rays to three hits. Buchholz didn’t allow anyone to reach on base on balls and struck out six. In the seventh inning he made a leaping grab of the ball off of James Loney’s bat to end the frame. This was the dominance that Buchholz was capable of at his best. Jon Lester has left the door open for a return to the Red Sox but Ben Cherington may not offer him the contract length he feels he deserves. If so, Buchholz seems poised to anchor the rotation for the 2015 if he can reproduce this pitching performance. Kevin Kiermaier displayed Jackie Bradley, Jr.-like qualities in center field. The center fielder robbed Daniel Nava of a hit in the sixth inning. The ball seemed destined to slice away from Kiermaier’s glove but he made the last second adjustment to reel it in. Your browser does not support iframes. Mookie Betts hasn’t matched Bradley’s defensive prowess in center but he has overshadowed his predecessor’s offensive production. With Dustin Pedroia on the bench with a concussion Betts has moved up into the two-hole. He went 2-for-4...

Don’t Call It a Comeback

I wouldn’t have guessed a lineup without David Ortiz could manage to win a game. The Red Sox designated hitter is day-to-day because of a ball he fouled off his right foot on Sunday. Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia made up for Ortiz’s production with a home run each. Someone that was supposed to provide power, Allen Craig, was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. But he does love the island I grew up on, so I can overlook his lack of production. For now. John Farrell kept Clay Buchholz on the mound one inning too long. Up until the ninth frame Buchholz had allowed two hits; he left the game with two more hits and a walk added to his line. Koji Uehara induced an RBI ground out off Adam Lind’s bat but he then surrendered and two-run double to Edwin Encarnacion. Sometimes this team just can’t get out of its own way. Pedroia collided with Brock Holt when they both pursued Jose Reyes’s batted ball in the ninth. This was the hit that allowed the Blue Jays to tie the score 3-3 and force the game into extra innings. But by the 10th Holt recovered enough to single. He stole...

Petit Mal

In the past three games Edward Mujica earned two holds and a save. He lost his momentum last night in the eighth inning. He relieved Clay Buchholz and was charged with maintaining a 3-2 lead. Mujica allowed consecutive singles to Chris Carter and Dexter Fowler. Tommy Layne took over and struck out Jason Castro and Jon Singleton. John Farrell didn’t think Layne could handle Matt Dominguez and called on Burke Badenhop. Dominguez sent a tapper to Xander Bogaerts that prompted a chain of improbable events. Your browser does not support iframes. Bogaerts had backed up on Dominguez’s ball which caused the play at second to be close. Pat Hoberg ruled Fowler safe. Petit kept on running towards home on the play. At two points it seemed that Cory Blaser could have ruled that Petit was out of the basepath. It could be argued that Petit wasn’t actively avoiding a tag when he wandered into the grass, but once a defender near him got the ball would the umpire change his ruling? Farrell challenged both plays and lost, rendering the score 3-3. The local nine lost in extra innings for the 10th time in 16 tries. The Red Sox are 4-5...

Bucking Up

This game had most of the hallmarks of a classic Yankees-Red Sox clash: drawn-out at bats, lead changes, and multiple home runs. What it didn’t have was dramatic tension. Neither of these teams are close to contending for a playoff spot, although New York has a better chance of salvaging its season than Boston. A little more than ten years after the day Jason Varitek fought with Alex Rodriguez there were no such fireworks on the field. The closest a player came to getting injured was self-imposed: Junichi Tazawa landed awkwardly in the seventh inning when pitching to Brian McCann and took a tumble. Only Tazawa’s ego was bruised, unlike Rodriguez’s face a decade ago. Clay Buchholz’s health and technique seems to have followed Tiger Woods’s downward trajectory. How such talented athletes could fall so far is unfathomable. Dan Shulman and John Kruk called the game from the Green Monster but the new vantage point didn’t add anything to Kruk’s contributions. Mostly he talked about how afraid he was of heights. Game action (such as it was) was spliced with Shulman and Kruk’s visit to various spots in Fenway. They should have done this during the park’s 100th anniversary season...

He’s Goins to Git You Sucka

Ryan Goins had an incredible night: 4-for-5 with a run scored and four runs batted in. Not bad for a guy that was recalled from the Buffalo Bisons on July 22. The bottom of the order was particularly potent; Munenori Kawasaki was 3-for-4 in the six hole and Josh Thole knocked in two hits. Kawasaki was with the Bisons until June 17 and Thole replaced Henry Blanco on June 7. Your browser does not support iframes. The Red Sox pitchers were pummeled by recent Triple-A batters. Clay Buchholz was pulled in the fifth inning and relieved by Felix Doubront. In two-thirds of an inning Doubront gave up six hits, six runs, and two bases on balls. He was traded to the Cubs today for a player to be named later. It seems Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer still have a soft spot for the Venezuelan southpaw. While the bottom of the order was knocking around Boston’s hurlers with singles and doubles Melky Cabrera launched two multi-run homers. His sixth inning shot off Doubront caused significant damage, but not as much damage as Doubront did to his trade value. Game 106: July 28, 2014 Toronto Blue Jays57-50 14 W: R.A. Dickey...

Eleven Runs for Number Eleven

Clay Buchholz turned in a 109-pitch complete game shutout while Bo Porter burned through six pitchers. The Astros had only three hits, earned no walks, and were struck out 12 times. Buchholz enjoyed so much run support Jake Peavy must have been hoping for more outings against the vulnerable Houston pitching staff. Surprisingly Jose Altuve was held hitless. He broke the Astros’ record for hits in the first half of the season and received an award from Bob Watson, the former record holder. He was the second-least enthused award recipient this Sunday. The distinction for most unenthusiastic: Lionel Messi, winner of the Golden Ball award for best player in the 2014 World Cup but on the losing side in the finals featuring Argentina and Germany. Brock Holt went 5-for-6. He led off the game with a home run into the second deck on a 3-2 offering from Brad Peacock. Steve Lyons charitably characterized Peacock’s fastball as straight as a pencil. Holt’s mother is very demanding. Here she is crying because of his strikeout in the fifth inning that stranded runners in scoring position. Actually, Holt’s leadoff homer had her in tears. It had Jamie Erdahl misting up as well. Come...

Buchholz Back

Clay Buchholz started his first game since May 26, 2014. In that game he walked eight batters, gave up six earned runs, and left the game with just three innings under his belt. The Red Sox prevailed in that game and broke their 10-game losing streak. This time around Buchholz didn’t allow any bases on balls but surrendered three home runs. Boston’s batters bailed out Buchholz, avoiding a sweep by the Mariners. Daniel Nava saved a base hit in the fourth. Kyle Seager sent a sinking liner to right the Nava initially caught but lost in the slide. Seager thought he could capitalize on Nava’s drop but got too greedy by sprinting to second after he had slowed on his turn around first. Nava threw from his butt to Stephen Drew in time to tag out Seager. Your browser does not support iframes. On the offensive side Nava went 3-for-4. In the third inning his gutshot single plated Jackie Bradley, Jr. to tie the game 3-3. David Ortiz added to his legend by telling a group of kids being shepherded by Mike Carp that he would hit a home run. Sure enough Ortiz homered in the first inning. He singled...

Centennial Man

Ryan Cook toed the rubber in the sixth inning, inheriting the undesirable scenario that Dan Otero left him. The bases were loaded but Cook only had to get two outs. The way the Red Sox had been hitting with runners in scoring position a double play was a likely outcome. Dustin Pedroia stepped into the batter’s box. He let one slider slip by and fouled another off. He sent the third pitch to the top of the Green Monster. Bob Melvin challenged the call but for once replay worked in Boston’s favor. Pedroia had clouted his first home run of the season, the second grand slam of his career, and his 100th homer. It is fascinating to watch Jackie Bradley, Jr. adapt to Fenway Park’s center field. He seems to get better reads than Jacoby Ellsbury and is usually in position to make spectacular catches. It is just the last second adjustments where Bradley needs fine tuning. In the third he nearly robbed John Jason of a triple but ended up colliding with the garage door. Bradley seemed to learn from his earlier misplay and snatched Yoenis Cespedes’s batted ball before it reached the center field wall. Unlike Ellsbury, Bradley...

Buck Up

Clay Buchholz started off well enough but unraveled in third inning. Of the eight batters he faced in the frame only Adam Jones didn’t have a hit. But Jones came to bat with runners at the corners and even his fielder’s choice score a run. Since returning to Fenway Park and calling up Brock Holt the Red Sox offense has improved somewhat, but not enough to overcome a six-run third inning and an extra run tacked on late in the game. The Red Sox rallied in the fifth inning, putting up a three-spot sparked by Xander Bogaerts’s leadoff walk. Jackie Bradley, Jr. drove Bogaerts in with a ground-rule double to right, Brock Holt lofted a sac fly to plate David Ross, and Dustin Pedroia fired a double down the left field line to score Bradley, Jr. Ross and Mike Napoli homered in the seventh and eighth respectively. The local nine scraped up a run in the ninth with the bases loaded on Napoli’s ground out, but Mike Carp grounded out to Chris Davis for the final out. Although the Red Sox didn’t win on Patriots’ Day they are showing signs that this homestand is serving them well. On every Marathon...


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