There’s nothing like watching a Sox game in August with Jerry Remy adding the color commentary. The games have more flair with the big guy’s commentary and even the blowouts are entertaining again.
No broadcasting pair in the nation can match the chemistry and banter of Orsillo and Remy. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dave Roberts, Eckersley’s ‘stache, and everything they’ve done for the club. But, no one can replace Jerry Remy. It’s like Cabrera or Renteria after Nomar: they’re legitimate, viable replacements, but no one can fill the shoes of a legend.
Here’s to Jerry Remy, his family, and a full recovery. Jerry, if you’re reading this, all of New England is pulling for you.
How Did Clay Look Monday?
Command way off; missing out over the plate- a number of fastballs intended inside missed over the middle, struggling with handle on breaking balls… That’s a quick synopsis of my notes from the game.
News Alert: Clay Buchholz struggled with his command – again. Ok, it’s not news.
He missed a lot of pitches low, showing little ability to locate pitches at the knees. His change-up had some swings and misses and the curveball was good at times but it was inconsistent.
He is still hanging lots of pitches – two in particular come to mind. He hung one to Alexei Ramirez in the fourth that A-Ram pulled foul. It should have been ripped. He hung a slider to Scott Podsednik in the fifth for a line drive single. The slider flattened out numerous times during the start.
He wasn’t as bad as his final line states, however.
The fastball Paul Konerko drilled for a 3-run homer in the fifth wasn’t a bad pitch.
Konerko may have been thinking middle-in for a fastball on a 2-1 count, especially given the frequency with which Buchholz had been throwing fastballs inside during the game.
Credit Konerko for a great swing. This is why he has been such a dangerous hitter for so long. It was a decent – not bad – pitch. You can’t hit the black every time.
Its just too bad Buchy couldn’t make it out of the fifth and get the win. It would have been good for his confidence to finish with a 4 ER, 5IP line instead of 7 ER in 4.2 IP.
Buchholz had his moments, however. He made some very good pitches with the tailing fastball inside to right handers, especially in the fourth. The curve was breaking and he was able to locate it at times.
Clay’s best plate appearance of the game was against Jim Thome in the third, when he induced swinging strikes on both the curve and changeup. The pitches did not have the best location: they were strikes, but they were thrown right down the middle. They had plenty of break, however, and it’s more the hangers that get a pitcher in trouble. In addition, it was good to see that he was confident enough in his off speed and breaking stuff to use them against a lefty with Thome’s power.
As everyone knows by now, he will have nights when he is great and nights like last night. That’s his M.O. – he has the stuff to be among the best in the game but he needs to refine his command.
At this point, all you can do is take it one start at a time. He’s got talent, but that command is what will be the difference between him being an ace and being a bust.
He’s still not ready to pitch to major league hitters. His stuff is good enough, but his command is not. And don’t let anyone fool you: command ALWAYS trumps stuff.
Think about New York’s Phil Hughes and Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey. They were the two best pitching prospects in the minor leagues in 2007. In 2009? Hughes has a career. Bailey’s is on life support. Why? Location, Location, Location.
Fangraphs’ Eno Sarris produced a great take on Buccholz if you are in need of a second opinion.
Play(s) of the Game
White Sox starting pitcher Jose Contreras boots a bases loaded dribbler from Big Papi with 2 outs in the bottom of the 3rd.
The score would have been 4-1 had Contreras made the play. Things fell apart instead, as Contreras yielded a bases loaded walk to Jason Bay, followed by a wild pitch and a 3-run HR to Mike Lowell. Sox take the lead 7-4 and never look back.
The Sox remain 3 in front of Tampa, and move to 1.5 up on Texas in the Wild Card. Chicago falls 3 behind Detroit in the division. If the Wild Card race remains close throughout September, remember this sequence of events. You can be certain that Chicago fans will.
The Sox draw Freddy Garcia, Gavin Floyd, and John Danks in the next three days. Tim Wakefield returns on Wednesday to take on Floyd, which should be a good matchup.
With Junichi Tazawa slated for Thursday, it looks like Brad Penny is the odd man out in the rotation. This could change, however, with the touch-and-go state of Tazawa and Buchholz. Wake is a big upgrade. Let’s hope he can stay healthy and that knuckleball can flutter like it did earlier this year.
And Firebrand would like to welcome Jerry Remy back to the booth. It's a little belated, but hey, someone had to do it...