The scene at Hadlock Field this morning
So Clay Buchholz has been sent down to Portland, presumably so he can work with his old pitching coach.
People have been debating Buchholz and considering his struggles all year; perhaps it's luck, maybe it's his mechanics, maybe the issue is mental, or maybe he just wasn't ready. Regardless of the reason, things had simply reached the point where the Red Sox could no longer afford to let him work out his issues at the Major League level. Perhaps if the standings today were more similar to how they were on August 21 of last year, then they'd be more inclined to keep him around. But with the White Sox and Twins breathing down their neck in the Wild Card race and the Rays still very much within reach, it just made too much sense to let him figure things out elsewhere.
What's really important to remember, though, is that this is hardly unprecedented. Young pitchers do struggle sometimes when they try to adjust to Major League hitters. To suggest that Buchholz is now doomed to be a #4-type or that his future belongs with some other organization is reactionary lunacy.
Consider the case of Roy Halladay, who put up a 10.64 ERA in 2000. The following year, the Blue Jays sent him all the way back to A-ball as a 24-year-old - same age as Buchholz - to get himself figured out. Just two years later, he won a Cy Young, and may win another this year. Or even last year, the Indians sent Cliff Lee down to Triple-A, two years after his outstanding 2005 season. A few months later he was starting the All-Star game.
Obviously just because these guys got themselves straightened out doesn't automatically mean Buchholz will follow the same path. These are three very different pitchers. Ultimately it's all on Uncle Buch to put in the work. But it's absolute folly to write him off completely. And to you connoisseurs of schadenfreude out there, I would say the same thing about Phil Hughes.
As for the rotation in the meantime, why not rescue Justin Masterson from low-leverage pen exile?