Weekly Superlatives: Clay Buchholz, Yamaico Navarro, Matt Fox


Last week, I introduced a new weekly column devoted to handing out everyone’s favorite yearbook awards: superlatives. The main difference? I make my own categories. None of this most-likely to succeed or most-likely to have a drug problem cookie-cutter crap. Now, in week 2, I have a new set of awards going to a new group of people who caught my attention this week, including a bonus team award. On the field, this week was filled with late-game drama and solid pitching performances for the Red Sox, so there was plenty to sort through when making the tough decisions about who deserved to be recognized and who just wasn’t good (or bad) enough to even be given the time of day. Without further ado, I bring you the 2nd edition of Weekly Superlatives.

Yamaico Navarro

The “I am as Clutch in Spring Training as Big Papi is During the Regular Season” Award

This week, Yamaico Navarro did his very best David Ortiz impression. No, he didn’t hit moon-shots and slap his hands together, but he did hit a big walk-off single on Monday and then got hit with a pitch on Wednesday to give the Sox not 1, but 2 irrelevant walk-off (literally) wins against AL East rival, Baltimore Orioles. He has been big in clutch situations this Spring and is now hitting .381 with 1 home run and 4 RBIs in 10 games (20 ABs). It is a small sample size, but he is hitting .500 with runners at 2nd base and 1.000 with runners at 3rd so far. He is certainly playing his way into consideration for a bench spot, especially if an infielder is injured this season. All this clutch-stuff is great, but if the infielder really wants to channel his inner-Ortiz, he will need to grow about 5” and add-on about 60 lbs, because right now, he looks like mini-me next to Papi.

Matt Fox

The “I Can Strike-out Anything You Put in Front of Me” Award

If I had asked you before Spring Training which pitcher you predicted would have the most strikeouts on the Red Sox just 2 weeks into March, who would you have guessed? Jon Lester? Josh Beckett? Daniel Bard? Jonathan Papelbon? Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. The answer is Matt Fox. Really? So far this Spring, in just 3 appearances and 4 innings pitched, Fox has accumulated 7 strikeouts to lead the team in that category. Yes, this is the same Matt Fox that had a 10.80 ERA in 3 appearances with the Sox last season, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits in 1.2 innings, striking out 0 batters. In 4 total regular-season MLB appearances, Fox has yet to strike out a single batter in 7.1 innings. You think someone is trying to play into the good graces of the Red Sox coaching staff and earn a  future spot on the roster?

Clay Buchholz

The “I am Not Going to Allow a Single Run All Season, Because I am the Ace” Award

The 1st Red Sox major league starter to make his 3rd appearance this Spring, was Clay Buchholz after his outing yesterday. He has been a monster this Spring, now allowing a total of 0 runs in 9 innings over the course of 3 appearances. He has allowed just 5 hits and has struck out 6, which is an impressive ratio, especially when you consider has started 2 of those games, which forced him to face some major-league level hitters. Those numbers make me wonder if Buchholz came to camp looking to have a perfect Spring and shut everyone up about Jon Lester being the ace of the staff. You know those Texas-boys, they are competitive as hell and want to be the best. Besides lefty-reliever Rich Hill, Buchholz is the only pitcher on the Sox staff to pitch 4 or more innings and not allow a run. Clay, save some bullets for the regular season, these games don’t count.


Red Sox Roster

The “We Want to Give Our Fans Heart-Burn Even in the Spring” Award

Dear Red Sox players,

I know it is only Spring Training and these games don’t matter, but could you do your best to avoid 1-run, come-from-behind, and walk-off victories? I have already had to pound through an entire Costco-sized bottle of Tums and it isn’t even St. Patty’s day yet. Your last 5 games have been 1-run contests, 2 resulting in a walk-off victory (thank you Yamaico Navarro), and 3 resulting in wins after a come-from-behind performance. Really, guys? Are you just preparing me for another long season of close calls? Do you realize how stressful it is to be a Boston Red Sox fan in general without the added drama in irrelevant and useless games? For my health and the health of my fan-bretheren, next time a game gets close late, bring in Big Papi, Kevin Youkilis, and eventually Adrian Gonzalez into the game as pinch-hitters against the whichever A or AA pitcher is on the mound, because that is a recipe to blow the game open and allow us to relax at home.

Much obliged,

Brian Phair and all of Red Sox Nation

For all the latest news and analysis from BoSox Injection, follow us on TwitterFacebook, or with our RSS feed.