In Boston, Apr. 21, 2014 was a day circled on the Boston Red Sox‘ schedule for many reasons. Not only was it a rivalry game against the Baltimore Orioles, but it was also Patriots’ Day in Boston. The day also marked the running of the first Boston Marathon since last year’s tragedy. A day after the Red Sox were able to come back from five runs down to win a game, on this day the rally fell short.
On a quick turnaround after a late game packed with tributes and a Boston comeback victory, Fenway Park was filled with emotion and electricity once again. Unfortunately for Red Sox Nation, they saw their team get down early to the Orioles. Boston’s starter Clay Buchholz did not last long as he was tattered by hits during one bad inning.
Aside from the Red Sox’ never quit attitude and ability to never be out of a game despite the score, the big cause for concern is the lack of sharpness from Buchholz. For the second time in his four starts, the right-hander allowed six runs in less than five innings pitched. After getting off to a 9-0 start last season, Buchholz seems to be fighting himself and unable to find that same groove early on in the 2014 season.
Even going back to the playoffs, Buchholz was fighting an injury and labored through his World Series start. Now a few months later, he appears to be not quite 100 percent out on the mound. If he continues to struggle, it may not be out of the realm of possibility that Boston could shut him down for a few starts to try and get healthy. However, losing the right-hander could leave the defending champs vulnerable within the rotation.
If the Red Sox do lose Buchholz for some time, they also have John Lackey who has struggled in his last two starts after a hot streak of his own, giving up six runs in each game. Felix Doubront has been better but still has some questions to answer in his own right. Suddenly the depth of the Red Sox’ staff could be tested within the ultra-tough AL East.
Boston may have the offense to slug out games, but having to constantly play comeback baseball can be taxing on even the best. For the Red Sox, Buchholz and the staff have to be better going forward.
Nick Schaeflein is a Sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.