Buchanan Comes Out Cold
Following up a fantastic spring training in which he went 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA, David Buchanan made his first start of the 2015 season for the Phillies against the Boston Red Sox Thursday night.
The outing did not go according to plan, as Buchanan went just three innings, allowing six runs on four walks and seven hits with only one strikeout. Unable to muster enough offense off Red Sox pitcher Justin Masterson to offset Buchanan’s poor outing, the Phillies lost the game 6-2.
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Buchanan was never able to settle in against the BoSox lineup. After quickly getting two outs in the first inning, the 25-year old righty walked David Ortiz, then allowed a single that hit off the glove of shortstop Freddy Galvis into left field. Buchanan was able to escape trouble, getting Pablo Sandoval to ground out to second to end the threat.
Despite throwing a relatively clean second inning, Buchanan imploded in the third while failing to locate his fastball. He set down the first two hitters, then allowed an Ortiz single on a ball hit into the lefty shift, as Chase Utley was unable to handle the grounder.
“That inning can’t happen at this level. You deserve what’s coming if you keep doing that.” ~ Buchanan
Hanley Ramirez followed with a bouncer hit back to the mound, which Buchanan instinctively tried to field. The ball bounced off the pitcher’s glove, and in hurrying his throw to first, Buchanan threw the ball into the Phillies dugout. Ramirez and Ortiz advanced to second and third on the errant throw, putting Buchanan in another early jam.
Struggling to get ahead of hitters from the beginning of the game, Buchanan again fell behind and walked Sandoval to load the bases. Former Phillie Shane Victorino then reached on a hard hit ball to third baseman Cody Asche, who made a diving stop, but couldn’t throw out the speedy Victorino at first.
With the bases still loaded, Buchanan issued another walk, this time to Bosox catcher Ryan Hanigan, forcing in a run. The game was broken open when Xander Bogaerts dropped in a ball that hit the edge of the grass down the right-field line and bounced away from Phillies right fielder Jeff Francoeur, clearing the bases and staking the Red Sox to a 5-0 lead.
But the damage wasn’t done yet, as Buchanan was unable to retire Masterson, who singled to center scoring Bogaerts and increasing the Red Sox lead to 6-0. Mookie Betts grounded out to third to end a miserable night for the Phillies starter, who was replaced by newly signed reliever Dustin McGowan in the fourth inning.
Buchanan admitted in an interview after that game that he didn’t put his team in a position to win.
“I’m not putting anything past me walking guys, and not getting ahead and not doing my job. That inning can’t happen at this level. You deserve what’s coming if you keep doing that,” Buchanan said of his outing.
On a cold, damp 40 degree night at Citizens Bank Park, Buchanan clearly didn’t have his best stuff. While he wasn’t hit all that hard, it would have been difficult for Buchanan to go much farther in the game. He had thrown 79 pitches in his three innings of work, just 44 for strikes. After walking just two batters during the spring, Buchanan doubled that total on Thursday night.
“His command seemed to be off right from the get-go, had some long counts, missing off the plate. It looked like he was slightly off his game,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said in his postgame press conference.
Buchanan had a solid rookie season in 2014. In 20 starts, he tossed 117.2 innings, going 6-8 with a 3.75 ERA. He was the team’s best pitcher during this spring’s exhibition games, and should have been in the discussion for the second starter spot.
Buchanan has decent enough stuff to remain in the Phillies rotation for the next few years, and fans shouldn’t read much into his first outing. He is a solid number three or four starter for a team that is currently in a rebuilding stage. Look for Buchanan to bounce back in his next start which will likely come Tuesday at Citi Field against the New York Mets.