After a shaky start to the season the Boston Red Sox are just one game under .500 after a 6-1 road trip.
The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham spoke with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich about the Sox’ starting pitching, the bullpen and Kevin Youkilis.
Left-handed reliever Rich Hill — who underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2011 — was activated Hill from the 15-day disabled list on Friday. He pitched 2/3rds of an inning in Sunday’s loss to the Chicago White Sox, allowing a run off a hit and two walks. What did Abraham think of the left-hander’s performance?
“He looked, I thought, a little nervous,” Abraham said of Hill. “He looked like a guy who was maybe anticipating being back in the big leagues for the first time in a year and kind of looked it a little bit; he was a little bit wild.”
“I think he’s going to be effective,” said Abraham. “That initial nervousness is going to go away and he’s going to be an effective guy against left-handed hitters.”
Over the weekend, Jon Lester threw 122 pitches on Saturday with Josh Beckett tossing 126 on Sunday, something Sox fans never really saw Terry Francona let his pitchers do. What does Abraham think of Bobby Valentine letting his starters go so long?
“It’s unusual. The last time that Beckett had a game with this many pitches in April it really affected him. In his next start he didn’t pitch well and they took him out after about 92, 93 pitches,” said Abraham. “I’m interested to see what happens next time around. The one thing that’s a little bit different is they have a day off coming up on Thursday and all the starters are going to get an extra day off.”
A few years ago, Nolan Ryan came out and said that he thought pitchers have been pampered and maybe weren’t working enough. Does Abraham think these pitch counts are a good or bad thing?
“I think they’ve definitely been coddled, but the problem is you can’t all of a sudden de-coddle them all in one day. These are guys who have been trained this way since they were in high school, since they were in college, since they were in the minors. You can’t take them at the age of 27 or 28 and say okay now you’re going to start to throw a bunch of pitches.”
Clay Buchholz hasn’t started the season off too well, allowing five or more runs in each of his first four starts. With the return of Daisuke Matsuzaka in the near future and talk of bringing Aaron Cook up from Triple-A, how important is Buchholz’s start against the A’s Monday night in terms of his future in the rotation?
“I think that’s a little bit over-played. I don’t see them all of a sudden losing faith in Clay Buchholz after only a month, but clearly he’s been the worst guy in their rotation so far,” said Abraham.
Plus, does Abraham think this will be Kevin Youkilis’ last year with the Red Sox?