Weekly Superlatives: Clay Buchholz, Bobby Jenks, Buck Showalter
After a week filled with sickness and bed rest for me, I am emerging from the depths of darkness. I was nearly shut-off from the world for a few days, forcing me to play catch-up on all the Red Sox news and notes this weekend, as well as a few interesting comments coming from the Baltimore Orioles camp. This column is a day late, but better late than never, right? Frankly, I’m pretty glad I missed most of the games this week, because the Red Sox had some rough performances all around, including allowing 10 runs in 1 inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday. The Sox have piled on 7 straight losses, their last win coming last Thursday against the New York Mets. Good thing Spring results don’t mean anything. Let’s take a look at the Weekly Superlatives for the 2nd to last week of Spring Training.
The ‘Most Likely to Allow Home Runs to a Team that Doesn’t Hit Home Runs’ Award
Wow. All I can say is wow. The Red Sox pitching staff has been all over the board this week, dropping stink bomb innings and outings. Buchholz is no exception and just got straight-up crushed in yesterday’s outing against the Florida Marlins. Coming into the game, the Marlins had hit 7 total Spring home runs and in 4 innings of work, Buchholz allowed 4 home runs and 11 earned runs on 11 hits. Ouch. You will be hard-pressed to find a worse outing by a Red Sox pitcher so far, although the 10-run inning St. Louis hung on the Red Sox this week was pretty awful as well. Let’s hope these struggles wash away over the next week and the season starts strong, because the team can not succeed with poor pitching.
The ‘Most Secure Job in the Bullpen’ Award
Ok, I admit, this award is lacking in creativity. Cut me some slack, it’s been a long week. Creative or not, it is true. Bobby Jenks has yet to allow a run this Spring in 6 outings, allowing just 3 hits, 2 BBs and striking out 6. So far, Jenks looks even better than advertised and if he can be a dominate force in the bullpen, he adds so much value. With Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard struggling this Spring, it’s nice to see at least one late-game arm pitching in regular-season form. Jenks is not only a great late-game pitcher, he is also an insurance policy for the Red Sox in case Papelbon can’t get it turned around and has trouble in the closers role.
The ‘Mostly Likely to Piss Off His Opponent with Ignorant Comments’ Award
First off, Men’s Journal? Really Buck? If you are going to bash the Red Sox and Yankees organizations, you don’t do it in Men’s Journal. Pick a respectable sports/baseball magazine like Sports Illustrated or ESPN the Magazine. Why don’t you hate on the Phillies and Mets in next month’s edition of People or Cosmo? Now you claim your comments were taken out of context? In what context would those comments be said and not taken as a cheap shot? Do tell. Oh Buck, maybe you should manage the basement of the AL East for a full season before running your mouth about being able to beat the Red Sox. Last time I checked, the Orioles haven’t made the post-season since 1997 and you haven’t won anything in your career. As a matter of fact, the year after leaving both the Yankees and Diamondbacks, the team won the World Series. They needed to shed some of that unnecessary fat before they could succeed at the highest level.
For reference, here are the comments Showalter made to Men’s Journal:
“I’d like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay payroll. You got Carl Crawford ’cause you paid more than anyone else, and that’s what makes you smarter? That’s why I like whipping their butt. It’s great, knowing those guys with the $205 million payroll are saying, ‘How the hell are they beating us?’”
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