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Buchholz still unimpressive in Boston

Posted by Bill Koch on April 11, 2010

Clay Buchholz

Raise your hand if you think Clay Buchholz looked like a future No. 1 starter on Sunday.

Put your hands down. We don’t tolerate liars here at Ramble On, and even the most pink-hatted Boston Red Sox fans out there couldn’t think that Buchholz delivered a performance worthy of being included with the likes of Felix Hernandez, Tim Lincecum and the rest of baseball’s young guns in Sunday’s 8-6 win over woeful Kansas City.

Buchholz just refuses to make it easy for himself or his teammates, who spotted him with a 4-0 lead before he threw his first pitch at Kauffman Stadium. Buchholz leaked single runs in each of the first three innings, shrinking Boston’s lead to 6-3, before departing after five. He allowed seven hits and recorded just a single strikeout in an uneven outing that made him look every bit like the scrubby No. 5 starter that he currently is.

Simply put, Buchholz is Nuke LaLoosh. He’s got a $1-million arm and a 5-cent head just like Tim Robbins’ character did in Bull Durham. Watching Buchholz pitch is such an exercise in frustration because his talent is obvious – the 96-mph fastball, the 12-6 curve, the knee-buckling change-up, the developing slider – and his promise continues to be unfulfilled. He used the offseason to get married and gain 20 pounds of wedding weight instead of busting his ass to ensure himself a spot in the Boston rotation. Buchholz showed no fear despite the addition of John Lackey, a signing which gave the Red Sox six starters for five spots. Apparently being stuck living in a Comfort Inn in Pawtucket with his new bride, the lovely Lindsay Clubine, still wasn’t enough to motivate Buchholz to get his act together. Because of that, and Boston’s continued refusal to package Buchholz and some of its other prospects for a badly-needed power bat in the middle of the order, we’ll be stuck watching Meat struggle his way through more 94-pitch death marches like the one he put together against the Royals.

3 Responses to “Buchholz still unimpressive in Boston”

  1. Steve G. said

    My goodness, couldn’t you give the guy two starts before you start going WEEI caller on him?

  2. bk1015 said

    Buchholz has made 35 starts with the Red Sox over the course of four years. He’s 13-14 with a 4.88 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. Don’t make him out like he’s some inexperienced rookie — he’s actually older than Felix Hernandez. The fact that he hasn’t stuck yet with Boston rotating through a handful of castoffs (Penny, Smoltz, Byrd, etc.) as the No. 5 starter doesn’t exactly say good things about Buchholz’s future as a worthwhile pitcher in Boston.

    • Steve G. said

      But you’re cherry-picking and combining statistics to make your argument, which is the problem. 15 of his starts came in 2008, which was pretty much a lost year for him – a 6.75 ERA in 76 innings. He hasn’t had four years in the majors – he’s had two half seasons, one start this year, and three starts and four games his rookie year. In September and October, he went 4-1 with a 3.98 ERA, and he had a decent playoff start too. The trend lines are improving, so I think it’s way too soon to give up on him.

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