Boston Red Sox: Long ball now the nemesis for pitching staff

In the Boston Red Sox 9-4 loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday afternoon, Sox pitchers gave up four more home runs, leading to a total of 19 home runs given up in just eight games. By contrast, Sox hitters have delivered just five home runs thus far.

Photo credit terren in Virginia via Creative Commons license

That type of disparity will spell doom for the Red Sox if not turned around, and quickly.

Yesterday’s starter, Clay Buchholz, gave up eight hits and four runs in 3 2/3 innings, including a home run to catcher Russell Martin, who added another solo shot off Alfred Aceves later in the seventh. Marin is not exactly a home run hitting machine, hitting just 12 in the last two seasons.

However, when pitchers are just grooving them in the sweet spot, balls will fly out of the park quickly, and that’s exactly what’s plaguing the Red Sox early on.

Buchholz was asked after the game if he felt that the new pitching coach, Curt Young, and new catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, had anything to do with the current struggles of the staff.

“Maybe it takes a while to get on the same page as far as pitcher-catcher,’’ Buchholz told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “Curt has brought in a pretty good bit of knowledge. I don’t think there’s anything to do with that. We just have to execute the pitches like we did last year.’’

Manager Terry Francona’s bigger concern is the high pitch counts seen thus far from the starting rotation. In the first eight games of the season, only one quality start has been delivered (six innings, three or less earned runs).

Francona also agreed that personnel changes have nothing to do with it.

“That’s not why we have high pitch counts. We’re always trying to learn about people. It’s just a matter of executing right now. You have to execute well or they’ll make you pay for it,” Francona said.

So, there you have it. Both Buchholz and Francona said it in a nutshell. Execute the pitches, plain and simple. And right now, the starters are falling far short of that.

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