Red Sox pitching playoff Sophie’s choice
By Rick McNair
Rain has canceled out a game three and the Red Sox are now faced with a pitching decision. Do they continue with scheduled starter Clay Buchholz or realign?
Kenny Rogers “The Gambler” is now a possibility to raindrops falling on our heads in Boston. An opportune rain that may be fortuitous to the Red Sox pitching alignment – or is it? A crucial decision now rests with manager John Farrell in how to proceed with a team facing an ignominious elimination.
The schedule for Sunday required enigmatic Clay Buchholz to take the bump. Buchholz was given the assignment to cauterize what has become a gaping wound with a performance for the ages. Just as likely a performance for a landfill and the clear likelihood of taking his $13 million option and writing it off the books.
So the decision becomes quite simple – do I trust Buchholz? Is his current state of pitching excellence a mirage or a return to what has been in the past some remarkable performances? Farrell can give Buchholz the ball and take out his worry beads and join the rest of Red Sox Nation for ether a quick demise in three games or a possible game four.
I would give the ball to Buchholz.
The other option is to take Rick Porcello on three-days rest and take out those same well-worn worry beads with the resolution that Porcello will magically and hopefully perform as was expected in game one. Porcello has certainly shown his sand at Fenway Park in 2016 where he has been as close to invincible as possible.
The hitters – who are collectively languishing in some Hades for hitters – just may be revitalized by the prospect of Porcello giving it a go – and, then again, maybe not? Three days off in this day and age of arm sensibilities is risky, but managers seem to toss out the pitch count books when all or nothing exists.
The rain will also open up another opportunity for the much-maligned David Price. Price is most assuredly a post season failure by any measurement you wish to choose. Why has Price continued to become a John Wasdin when it counts? Three days for Porcello could potentially open up three days for Price and move Buchholz to a deciding game five. Ah – the various options.
Again – my choice would be to trust in Buchholz, which is paramount to publicizing all your personal information to Russian hackers. Fool I may be, but I would take the advantage of the day of pitching rest to keep the sadly underperforming Porcello and Price on schedule for the final – if necessary – two games.
More from Red Sox News
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Why Red Sox fans should be rooting for Carlos Correa’s Mets deal to go through
- Red Sox exec claims Mookie Betts loss changed management style, but actions say otherwise
Porcello and Price have to be existing in some type of netherworld of bad pitching karma. Both – particularly Price – are looking for redemption. Price has issued platitudes during the season after each performance that is – and I paraphrase – “Doing better.” Better is no longer acceptable – shutdown is the only course to redemption.
I understand the necessity to “go with your best” in crucial times of elimination, but your best has staggered around like sailors on a well-deserved shore leave. My confidence meter on Porcello and Price is on the empty mark.
Buchholz, however, appears – at least on the surface to be brimming with confidence and a desire to take the ball and lead by example. All bluster and bravado? Perhaps.
Buchholz may be the answer and what a comeuppance this would offer the much maligned Buchholz. I had him firmly buried in mid-season and like many requested what remained of the pitching corpse be dispatched elsewhere. Now is the potential payback and I for one will gladly have an extra helping of crow – medium well – to savor if Buchholz is a savior.
Next: Red Sox Seem Done With Junichi Tazawa
With no matter what option is chosen the final result will be the administration of saint status to Farrell for risky brilliance, or the final nail in his Boston managerial coffin.