With the Red Sox’ poor play of late, one player who has sort of got lost in the shuffle is starter Clay Buchholz.
The right-hander is quietly putting together a solid season, which could be even better if he actually received some run support.
Buchholz currently is the best pitcher in the Red Sox rotation (not including Eduardo Rodriguez) as he’s 4-6, but has a 3.87 ERA. His 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings are the best of his career.
He’s really turned it on of late, coincidentally while the Red Sox have had their issues. Going into his seventh start, he had an ERA of 6.03, but over his last eight starts he’s gotten it down to 3.87. In six of those starts he’s allowed three earned runs or less, including two games not allowing any runs.
The biggest issue for Buchholz was the run support he received, as in that stretch he had a string of games where the Red Sox scored just one run in four straight of his outings.
June has been a little different, as he has won three of his four starts, including his last one, a 5-2 win over the Braves in Atlanta -- the site of his worst major league start last Memorial Day when he walked eight batters. It was a totally different story this time around as he went seven innings, allowing two unearned runs on six hits, while walking one and striking out three.
“I underestimated it last year, the heat and how much that can affect you if you’re not used to it,” Buchholz said to reporters in Atlanta following the game. “I knew what I was doing coming into the game today. It wasn’t a day game, so that helped out, too. But yeah, if you’re not ready for the heat it can get to you. It’s one of the things I wasn’t going to let affect me today.”
He’s a much more confident pitcher than in the past few years and he’s taken on the role of leading the Red Sox rotation, something that was mocked in the first month of so of the season. While it’s less than half the season, Buchholz is out-pitching Jon Lester in Chicago, as Lester sits at 4-5 with a 3.99 ERA.
The 30-year-old Buchholz was criticized a great deal the first month of the season and for good reason, as the results just weren’t there, especially for a pitcher who started on Opening Day.
But, while much of the focus with the Red Sox over the past month has been centered around weak performances, Buchholz is one player who has quietly gone about his business and emerged as the Red Sox’ clear-cut No. 1 starter.