As for Brad Penny, Sox fans should take comfort in knowing that it’s late July and Penny is still healthy, pitching well for an end of the rotation starter and still throwing 96-97 mph. However, Penny earned only his first win in a while (when he won his 100th career on June 17) last Friday night vs. Baltimore. It was also one of the few times this year and first since mid-May that Penny pitched into the seventh inning as he went 6 1/3 innings and allowed zero runs or walks while striking out four on 108 pitches. More performances like that will be needed from Penny, whether the Sox are hitting or not.
And finally, if Clay Buchholz doesn’t get traded this week as part of a package for a big name player, he will have the eyes of Sox Nation on him until Tim Wakefield comes back from the 15-day DL. Buchholz is a 3-4 pitch pitcher: fastball, changeup, curveball (which he doesn’t always trust throwing), and slider (which he is using now with more confidence). Interestingly, he didn’t throw a slider at all in 2008, when he admittedly pitched scared to go back down to the minors as he told the Boston media last week. He also admits to taking his brief time with the Sox in '07-'08 for granted and thus better prepared himself physically for the 2009 season.
Hopefully, for the Red Sox’s sake, Clay Buchholz continues to develop and mature as a pitcher because he has front of the rotation-type of stuff. Whether we see him prosper in a Boston uniform or elsewhere is an open question and it may be answered by the end of this week.