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Mitch's Sports Report: So-So Good, So-So Good: The Clay Buchholz Era Is Over In Boston

For those of us who remember the skinny kid from Texas who threw a no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles in just his second major league start, the news that the Boston Red Sox traded away Clay Buchholz yesterday is tinged with some sadness.

Buchholz spent nine seasons with the Red Sox, and along the way showed flashes of brilliance that made you think he could be one of the game's premier pitchers. But just as often, especially in the last 3 to 4 years, he could drive fans to distraction with epic mound meltdowns and injury prone seasons when he'd be riding the pine for most of the year due to ailments that seemed to the outside observer to be fairly minor in nature. Red Sox Nation would often ask "Will the real Clay Buchholz please stand up?", and now it will be the Philadelphia Phillies taking a stab at answering that question.

Buchholz was traded yesterday for Phillies minor league second baseman Josh Tobias, which is something of a head-scratcher-slash-insult to Clay given his career stats of 188 starts, an 81-61 win-loss record and a respectable if not gaudy 3.96 earned run average.

Tobias is 24 years old and has never played a big league game. He had a .291 batting average to go with nine home runs and ten stolen bases in 127 games with two of the Phillies' single A clubs last season, so what this really amounts to is a salary dump for the Red Sox, who get the remainder of Clay's one-year, $13.5 Million off the books. It's nice to have that money freed up but couldn't Dave Dombrowski have shopped Buchholz around a bit more for a roster-ready player to maybe step in at third base now that Travis Shaw has been traded and it's unclear whether Pablo Sandoval will be able to justify the bloated contract he was given two years ago? Or perhaps another arm to buttress the bullpen until Carson Smith is fully rehabbed from Tommy John surgery?

There was no doubt that with a surplus of starters following the acquisition of Chris Sale from the White Sox that Buchholz or perhaps Drew Pomeranz would be traded, but why now, several months before spring training even begins? Most major league teams don't have the luxury of having too many experienced starting pitchers on their roster as the Red Sox do, and it just seems as if the Sox could have been patient sellers with one of those two guys and entice a higher level player in return than a minor league second baseman. Especially since Buchholz was an all star in 2010 and as recently as 2013 when he was part of the World Series championship team, and those Red Sox fans who saw his stretches of brilliance since that no-hitter in 2007 may be wondering how little he's garnered in return now that his time with the Olde Towne Team is up.

To the NHL, and on the last game of a three game homestand the Boston Bruins had a golden opportunity to finally get their record over .500 at home, where the Bear Cave has resembled more a place for the Black and Gold to do some winter hibernating rather than strike fear into the hearts of opponents this season. The B's were taking on a NY Islanders team mired in a five game losing skid and in last place in the eastern conference, but the Bruins did not wake from their slumber until the third period, and by then it was too late to overcome a three goal deficit and they lost to the Islanders 4-2. To be fair, the Bruins were generating offense. They put 50 shots on Islanders netminder Thomas Greiss, but he turned away 48 of them, and was at his best after the Bruins finally broke through to make a game of it with two goals early in the third period by Anton Blidh and Dominic Moore, but defensive breakdowns in the first two periods and two goals by Anders Lee led to a quick exit for Tuukka Rask, who was pulled after allowing three goals on 13 shots in an uncharacteristic off game. Not a game the Bruins wanted to have to finish the homestand before heading out to Florida to play the Panthers on Friday.

Jaromir Jagr, by the way, the Panthers forward who laughs at age like he's watching a Marx Brothers movie, had an assist last night to move him ahead of Mark Messier for second place all-time on the NHL point list.

Elsewhere the Montreal Canadiens got a big night out of defenseman Jeff Petry, who scored a goal and added two helpers in Montreal's 5-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks at the Bell Centre. Petry's on a hot streak, with goals now in three consecutive games for the first time in his career.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are tied in the standings with the NY Rangers but  romped all over the Blueshirts in a 7-2 win in Steel City. Sidney Crosby scored again to increase his league-best goal total to 22, and the Blue Jackets of Columbus are the team to beat in the NHL right now, winners of ten in a row after a shoot-out win against the L.A. Kings.

To the NBA, and the Boston Celtics have been looking to get on a roll and now they've got a nice little 3-game winning streak going after their 112-109 come from behind overtime win against the Grizzlies in Memphis last night. The Celtics trailed by 17 at the half but Isaiah Thomas picked up the slack and ended up scoring a career high 44 points to guide Boston to the victory. 36 of his 44 points came after the Celtics tepid first half.

In womens' college hoops the Oakland Golden Grizzlies proved too much for UVM, beating the Catamounts 79-55 in Rochester, Michigan last night.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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