Red Sox

Red Sox

The Sox were fortunate that Clay Buchholz was as good as he was for as long as he was, giving them eight innings on a night when Junichi Tazawa was not an option and the Sox faced the prospect of some bad matchups involving their lefties (Robbie Ross Jr., Craig Breslow and Tommy Layne) against a predominantly right-handed-hitting lineup for the Jays.

Buchholz got 24 of the 27 outs, so only Koji Uehara was needed. But the Sox will continue to walk a tightrope for the rest of the series, since even though he had a day to recover from usage in Tampa Bay, Tazawa has been lit up by Toronto in his career (6.97 ERA; 1.508 WHIP).

Other than Alexi Ogando, Farrell doesn't have another trustworthy righty arm for high-leverage situations. Matt Barnes remains a work in progress.

At some point, Farrell will have to be wary of overworking both Ogando and Tazawa, who've combined for 68 appearances to date.

Perhaps, in time, Joe Kelly could fill that role. But for now, the Sox seem committed to having Kelly work though his issues in the rotation in Pawtucket.

That leaves them as one of, oh, 20 or so teams looking for relief upgrades at the deadline -- again, assuming they're still focused on this season in a months' time.

Sandoval's backhand a concern 

Pablo Sandoval's defensive metrics are down this season, continuing a trend that began in his last two seasons in San Francisco. 

You don't need to look at UZR or any other stat to see that Sandoval is virtually helpless to get to balls hit to his backhand. John Farrell said over the weekend that Sandoval's habit of playing in to guard against bunts and slow rollers partly explained his limited range to the third base line.

But Monday night, Sandoval was playing almost even with the bag and was helpless to get to a hard shot off the bat of Kevin Pillar.

There have been similar displays in recent weeks, where Sandoval has shown an inability to get to balls hit to his right.

How much Sandoval's weight is a contributing factor to his reduced mobility is difficult to quantify, but it can't help.

And given that Sandoval is still only 28 with four more years on his deal following this one, the trend can't be a good one for the Sox.