Three things learned from Red Sox' 7-6 loss to Indians
1) Clay Buchholz had all sorts of problems in his first start
Buchholz lasted just four innings, needing 94 pitches to record only a dozen outs.
The issues were two-fold: the inability to throw strikes with his secondary pitches, and poor fastball location after getting into too many hitter's counts.
"I think most of it was the fastball location,'' said Buchholz. "I threw some really good first pitches and they had some good takes. With a team that you think is going to be going out there and swinging early, you try to get them to mishit some balls with changeups and curveballs early in the count.
"The pitches I threw, I threw where I wanted to were balls. You usually get some swings-and-misses or some weak contact but they didn't offer at them. That left me behind in the count for the most and having to throw strikes with the fastball, when I wasn't it commanding it all that well. That's how it goes.''
Buchholz did, in fact, make some successful adjustments later in the outing, retiring seven-of-eight from the second through the fourth.
But with his pitch count climbing over 90, he issued a leadoff walk in the fifth, and John Farrell had seen enough.
It goes without saying that you can't have a starter force your bullpen to get at least 12 outs in the second game of the season.
2) It's going to be interesting to watch John Farrell use four players at two positions to get the proper matchups
Farrell had Brock Holt in left and Travis Shaw at third, just as he did in the opener Tuesday. But in the sixth inning, when the Indians went to the bullpen for lefty Ross Detwiler, Farrell wasted no time in pinch-hitting the right-handed hitting Chris Young for the lefty-swinging Shaw.
That resulted in Young taking over in left, and Holt moving to third.
Then, what that spot came around again in the seventh, this time with righty Zack McAllister on the mound, Farrell sent Pablo Sandoval up to hit lefthanded.
From there, Sandoval went into the game at third, with Holt moving back to the outfield.
There are limits to the moves Farrell can make with his bench, since Sandoval plays just one position (third) and, though he's a switch-hitter, can only be counted onto to hit lefthanded.
There's also this complication: Holt's worst position is third base.
He's made 11 errors there in just 92 career games.
"I'm going to continue to take ground balls in the infield,'' said Holt. "I have to be ready for either the infield or the outfield.''
Still, with the roster as currently constituted -- and Shaw and Holt being made into what are essentially everyday roles -- it's his only option.
3) Apparently, Brock Holt was watching Erik Hosmer in the World Series last fall.
Recall that Hosmer helped seal a World Series win for Kansas City in the clinching Game 5 when he broke from third on a groundball to the left side. When the Mets' David Wright went to first after checking Hosmer back, Hosmer broke after the throw and dared first baseman Lucan Duda to throw him out at the plate.
Instead, Duda's throw sailed the and the Royals went on to win their clincher at Citi Field.
Wednesday night, Holt was at third in the sixth inning when Mookie Betts hit a chopper to Juan Uribe. Holt danced off third, but strangely, Uribe never really looked him back. And when Uribe made his throw across the diamond, Holt took off and scored what was then the go-ahead run.
"Good baserunning,'' said John Farrell. "A very good baserunning read on his part.''
"I didn't want to go right away,'' recounted Holt. "I kind of read him. When I saw he wasn't going home, I kind of took off from there. I had shuffled off a couple steps, then went back (toward third), not knowing if he was going to look at me. As soon as he went to first, I just took off.''
It could be that Uribe may have forgotten how many outs there were, as he never seemed to even check on Holt before throwing across the infield.