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Boston Red Sox Fire & Ice:Dustin Pedroia Hot, Clay Buchholz Cold

August 4th, 2014 at 2:44 PM
By Sean Penney

With all the roster moves that the Boston Red Sox made around the trade deadline last week, the roster is now swarmed with new faces that haven't been with the team long enough to be considered for this column yet. You can't exactly be disappointed with the early returns from the new acquired Yoenis Cespedes (1 for 7) when it's only been two games. Nor do we need to concern ourselves with players that are no longer with the team. 

Keith Allison / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

On Fire

Dustin Pedroia
Past 7 Days: .400/.400/.600, 3 extra-base hits, 1 HR, 5 RBI

Pedroia has been struggling through a disappointing season at the plate (by his standards), but he's starting to turn things around lately with a major hot streak. He has multiple hits in 5 straight games and 7 of his last 9 to raise his season average to .281. He hit his 5th HR of the season Sunday night against the Yankees and came within inches of tying the game in the 9th inning on a shot down the left field line that just hooked foul. Not that the Red Sox rely on getting much power from their second baseman, but it's a good sign that he's making hard, solid contact.

Koji Uehara
Past 7 Days: 3.0 Innings, 1 hit, 0 Runs, 2 strikeouts

Uehara was one of the few veteran pitchers to survive the trade deadline in Boston, despite that many anticipated the 39-year old closer would be dealt. The rationale being that he's a free agent after this season and isn't a long term solution given his age. On the other hand, Boston fully intends to compete again next season and they need a closer they can trust. Uehara is as good as any in the game right now and should still have at least one more solid year left in the tank. The Red Sox front office must feel confident that they can re-sign him for a 1 or 2 year deal to keep him around while they wait to anoint one of their young prospects as the closer of the future.

Ice Cold

Jackie Bradley, Jr.
Past 7 Days: 0 for 17, 9 strikeouts, 0 walks

Well it doesn't get much worse than that line. Bradley couldn't even salvage the week by picking up a sac fly or driving in a run on a groundout. At least then some of his outs would be productive, although that's tough to do when you're striking out half the time. JBJ was hot for a few weeks before scuffling in the final week of the month. He still managed to hit .278 in July, but has now gone over a week since his last hit. His excellent defense will help keep him in the lineup at least some of the time, but with Boston's outfield getting more crowded he'll be in danger of losing playing time to Mookie Betts or Brock Holt if he doesn't start hitting again soon.

Clay Buchholz
Past 7 Days: 10.0 Innings, 12.60 ERA, 2.40 WHIP, 9 strikeouts, 9 walks

Of the pitchers that started the season in Boston's rotation this season, four of them have been traded away in the past week. That leaves Buchholz as the de facto ace of the staff, despite that he's been arguably the worst pitcher in the AL this season. No other starter with 100+ innings has a worse ERA than his 6.20 and his -1.5 WAR is easily the worst of any starting pitcher in the league. Despite showing some initial progress after his return from the DL in late June, Buchholz has regressed drastically over his last few starts. He coughed up 7 runs in both of his starts last week and has given up at least 4 runs in each of his last 4 starts. He's also walked at least 4 batters in each of his last 3 starts, signaling the control issues that derailed him earlier this season have returned. Buchholz is now the leader of a very young pitching staff, but the way he's going he may soon pitch himself out of the rotation. One thing is for certain – if the Red Sox plan to compete next year they can't enter the season with Buchholz as their top starter.

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Tags: Baseball, Boston, Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, Jackie Bradley, Koji Uehara, MLB

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