Clay Buchholz is finally returning to the Boston Red Sox, making his first start in over three months. It will come Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays, according to this tweet from CBS Sports' Danny Knobler.
Buchholz could be the final piece of the puzzle for the Red Sox, allowing Boston to go four deep in their playoff rotation. It also provides Boston the added benefit of sliding Felix Doubront and Ryan Dempster into key bullpen roles, again strengthening the team for a postseason run.
The road back for Buchholz hasn't been easy, one that initially started with a neck injury that seemed to effect his shoulder and then was diagnosed as bursitis. Buchholz eventually went to see noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews in order to ease his mind, something that caused concern when it was first announced.
It has been a long time since the 29-year-old Buchholz toed the rubber this year for the Red Sox—June 8th to be exact. In the interim, the Red Sox have increased their lead in the division by seven games going into today’s matchup against the New York Yankees.
The fact that the Red Sox could increase their lead in the AL East while their best pitcher sits on the shelf is a testament to the overall pitching depth that the Red Sox organization has had this season. In most seasons losing a pitcher with a 9-0 record and a 1.71 ERA would have crippled the Red Sox.
Buchholz can now return to the Red Sox with the mindset of trying to regain his form during the last three weeks of the season and focus on making an impact for the Sox come playoff time.
Buchholz returns to a Boston rotation that has changed somewhat in his absence. John Lackey resembles the pitcher that he was with the Los Angeles Angels. Jon Lester has been much better after a midseason funk. The rotation also includes Jake Peavy, another veteran pitcher who can take pressure off of Buchholz and has pitched well in his brief time with the Red Sox.
The Red Sox seem to be peaking at the right time: The offense is scoring runs and the pitching staff is getting the job done. Adding Buchholz for the stretch run can only help the Red Sox.
If Buchholz can stay healthy for a couple of months, this could be a very special October for the Red Sox.