Coffee and Clippings: Buchholz Sharp in Return

Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) from the Providence Journal breaks down Buchholz’s shut out win vs the Rays last night in his first game back from injury…

The good news for the Red Sox is that Clay Buchholz returned to the major leagues as sharp as ever. The better news for the Red Sox is that Buchholz still has room to make progress.

“If he’s a 12-cylinder pitcher, you were looking at six or eight cylinders right now,” Boston pitching coach Juan Nieves said.

Still, with as much rust as Buchholz was shaking off on Tuesday at Tropicana Field, the Red Sox had to be thrilled with what they saw from their ace righty. Buchholz struck out six in five scoreless innings – and in the process outdueled the terrific David Price for a 2-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) of the Tampa Bay Times discusses the series ahead between the Rays and Red Sox…

Maddon said it was a better matchup for Luke Scott to be in the lineup than Wil Myers vs. Buchholz. … Maddon said he still felt the Rays had a chance to win the AL East, and that he wanted the team to look at the remaining schedule as “20 one-game series” and not get too caught up in the big picture. .. RHP Jesse Crain had another encouraging bullpen session and could face hitters as soon as Friday, optimistic he will pitch for the Rays.

Having enjoyed what they could of their last off-day of the season Monday after an early morning arrival from Seattle, the Rays tonight open their final stretch of 20 games to the finish line against the rival Red Sox.

Gerry Fraley (@gfraley) of the Dallas Morning News looks at the Rangers’ offense as the team continues to struggle…

Claudell Washington, a sage baseball observer who spent time with the Rangers, once said that during a pennant race, a team cannot live by the “one game a time” cliché.

It is three games at a time during this stretch of the season, Washington said. Series are made up of three games, and a contender must keep winning series.

By that measure, the Rangers are gradually dropping out of sight.

Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) of FanGraphs breaks down the argument for Josh Donaldson for AL MVP…

It’s long been a foregone conclusion that Miguel Cabrera is going to win the 2013 American League Most Valuable Player Award. It’s long felt like a foregone conclusion that this will happen despite Cabrera again finishing well behind Mike Trout in league WAR. The question hasn’t been whether Trout will finish first or second; it’s been whether Trout will finish second or third or fourth or worse. We’ve already been through this, and if Cabrera has a serious challenger, it’s in the person of one Chris Davis.

Hillel Italie from the Associated Press talks about Billy Crystal return to the stage at the age of 65…

Billy Crystal remembers a show in Baltimore, around 1975, when he opened for the ’50s revival act Sha Na Na.

He was an unknown comic at the time, an unknown who happened to look exactly like one of Sha Na Na’s lead singers, Johnny Contardo.

“I’m introduced and I have no billing,” Crystal says during a recent interview. “‘Please welcome another star of our show and an up-and-coming new comic …’ That was the ’70s. Whenever you heard ‘up-and-coming new comic,’ it was like ‘Ugh.’