The Third Time’s The Charm for Buchholz! Right?

After taking a look at the entire rotation’s first two turns, Rick Rowand focuses in on Clay Buchholz’s third start. Rick looks to see which Clay showed up on April 18th.

Clay Buchholz 4/18/2015 vs. Baltimore

The erstwhile Clay Buchholz took the mound on Saturday to make his Fenway debut against the Orioles. When you look at the box score and see that he gave up 11 hits over six innings, it does not look like an outing by Good Clay. But you need to delve a bit deeper to see what happened during the game. And you need to remember that the gods of BABIP can be just as cruel as they can be kind.

Buchholz had seven strikeouts and only one walk while giving up two earned runs. If you watched the game, you will remember that two of the hits could easily have been ruled errors on Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez.

I was very encouraged by his performance in this game for three reasons. The first is that his release point, while still slightly spread out, was at and just below the six foot height that it was in his successful first game:

buchholz release release 4.18

The second reason is that Buchholz mixed his pitches very well. In the disaster that was the Yankees game, out of 79 total pitches: 47 were sinkers, 13 were curves, and the rest were in single digits. In this game, he effectively varied his arsenal through his 102 pitches: 16 fastballs, 24 sinkers, 17 changeups, 20 curves, and 25 cutters. In his first game, while still sinker-heavy, he also featured a good mix of his repertoire.

The third reason is that his head seemed to stay firmly attached to his body the entire game, which is not always the case when bad things happen. In the fourth inning, he gave up two runs and proceeded to load the bases with one out. He was able to get out of that inning with outs on two swinging strikes. 

In the fifth, he once again loaded the bases, this time with no outs, with a little help from his friends at second and in left field. As we have witnessed in the past, if Buchholz is going to check out of a game mentally, it is in this type of situation. But this time he did not! He was able to pitch out of this jam as well with no runs scoring. That was very nice to see.

Overall, an encouraging performance by Buchholz despite the number of hits.

All pitching data is courtesy of brooksbaseball.net

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Like all little boys who grew up in Little Rock, Rick became a fan of the Red Sox and continues to be one to this day. He is the proud parent to two kids in college and currently lives in Metro Atlanta and is not a member of any known cult. Rick likes to cook for friends and enemies, and his favorite band remains The Clash! Member of the IBWAA because, well, we all need to belong somewhere.

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