The proverbial work has been cut out for the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox, and particularly the starting rotation, to keep the team right where it’s at in the toughest division in baseball.
Well, at least in the short-term anyway … or so they hope.
While the team has not been without its share of injuries, the Red Sox have been rather fortunate in that they have not really had the type of roster-altering ailments (though you could say they have almost no luck with closers) which have plagued their divisional rivals New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays.
Clay Buchholz might just end up getting them to join the club.
Now, it’s still a little bit premature to be sounding alarm bells, but that the righty has already missed time earlier this month with a sore shoulder does not particularly bode well for future flare-ups or re-aggravation of the injury, even though it’s undoubtedly good news for Boston that there is no structural (ie. season-ending) damage found in the MRI.
Red Sox fans have traveled down this road with the 28-year old before, as Buchholz’s injury history is both plentiful and diverse in the type of issues which has caused him to miss significant time in the past couple of seasons. That said, whatever the root cause may be (luck? Mechanics? A bit of both?), this one hurts just that much more because he has simply never been this good in his career.
As the only starting pitcher without a loss in 2013, Buchholz’s 9-0 record almost doesn’t do justice to his dominance over opposing batters this year, which is better illustrated by a ridiculous league-leading 1.71 ERA over 84.1 IP, a fifth-best .193 BAA and a 2.9 fWAR which is good for ninth place … despite him having made just 12 starts, fewest of any in the top-10.
This latest setback is just that for the time being, of course. Though the tendency might be to think of the worst when shoulder injuries are of the reoccurring type, there’s always the possibility that he’ll bounce right back from the DL with his neck and shoulder issue and be just fine for the Red Sox though the rest of the season.
I just wouldn’t recommend that anyone bet on it, that’s all.