As the postseason seems more and more likely for the Red Sox, there are a few roster questions that will need to be decided between now and the first week of October.
Who will the second catcher be? Who will be in the bullpen? And perhaps the most up for grabs, who will be the No. 3 starter?
Rick Porcello and David Price will be the Nos. 1 and 2 starters for sure, but it’s still unclear who would start a potential Game 3. It comes down to Eduardo Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz and Clay Buchholz. And right now, if the playoffs started today, Buchholz should get the ball.
It’s been a roller coaster of a season for the right-hander as this is his fourth stint in the starting rotation, but he’s pitching the best he has at any point in the year.
On Friday, Buchholz gave up two runs over six innings against the Yankees and that came after he allowed one run over 6 2/3 innings against the Padres on Sept. 6. Prior to the Padres start, he allowed one earned run in each of his prior two starts, so he’s been solid as a starter for well over a month. Over his last five starts he has an ERA of 3.94, which includes the six runs over three innings against the Blue Jays.
With the injury to Steven Wright, Buchholz’s run couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I don't know that you can place a true value on it. He's come up big.” manager John Farrell said. “With the exception of one start, he's been six innings and low runs, even no runs allowed. He looks comfortable on the mound. The pitching from the stretch has been a major adjustment for him to allow for some consistency, particularly with men on base.”
Besides Buchholz, none of the other two are pitching like they’re deserving of a potential Game 3 start. Rodriguez couldn’t make it out of the third inning in his last outing, and over his last four starts he has an ERA of 4.57. Pomeranz is on a pitch limit given his career-high number of innings, so while he’s been effective besides his last start (five runs in two innings), he could be hard to depend on in the postseason.
So while Red Sox fans may not like it, or agree with it, given Buchholz finding his groove at the right time, his past playoff experience and the performances from the other starting pitchers, Buchholz should be the guy to follow Price and Porcello in October.