He was the first pitcher in MLB to win six games and is now 6-0; his 44 2/3 innings are tops in baseball, and his 1.01 ERA is pacing the American League.
He has not allowed more than two runs in any outing and struck out 47 while walking 16.
Throwing seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball, with Mike Napoli smashing two of the Red Sox’s five homers, Clay is now 6-0, after the 10-1 laugher over the highly-touted Blue Jays in Rogers Centre, where his 7-2 lifetime with a 1.49 ERA.
The only hit he had allowed was a third-inning single to Munenori Kawasaki, until Melky Cabrera hit a single off Buchholz in the eighth.
The 28-year-old Buchholz has demonstrated the dominance worthy of a staff ace: he has gone seven-plus innings in each of his six starts and has K’d at least six; he has not allowed more than two runs in any outing and struck out 47 while walking 16.
The long-term significance of the game is that Buccholz is demonstrating that he deserves to be projected into the #1 slot it the rotation.
If Lester remains in Boston, he and Buccholz will lead a rotation that, by 2015, will include:
Matt Barnes projected as a #2 or #3 starter.*
Allen Webster projected as a #2 or #3 starter.*
Henry Owens [LHP] considered to have a “higher upside” than Barnes and Webster.*
While those three solid starters fill a rotation, let’s not forget Drake Britton [LHP] and Brandon Workman, who rank just behind the three above, but are also considered solid rotation prospects.
Anthony Renaudo, [6’7”, 231 lbs] despite a slow start, had picked up the pace this season and is beginning to look more like the #2/#3 starter the Sox drafted in 2010.
Brian Johnson, LHP, is projected to be a solid #3 starter.*
No, we have not forgotten Rubby de la Rosa, but he is projected to be the Sox closer.*
“There is going to be your starts where you go out there and don’t have your best stuff and get hit around a little bit, everybody has to go through it,” said Buchholz, who walked three and struck out eight. “But I’ll try to ride the wave as long as it’s there.”
After issuing a leadoff walk to slugger Jose Bautista in the fourth, Buchholz retired the next 10 batters before walking Adam Lind to start the eighth. Lind, who advanced to third on Cabrera’s single, was the first Blue Jays player to get into scoring position off Buchholz.
“We couldn’t get anything going on Buchholz, that’s basically what happened,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He has been the hottest pitcher in the month of April, him and that Matt Moore kid in Tampa.”
Boston’s No. 2 starter has formed a dynamic duo with ace Jon Lester, who is 4-0 with a 3.11 ERA.
“We have two of the top two starters in the game,” Ross said.
Buchholz [6-0] was voted AL Pitcher of the Month today; fellow Texas native Matt Harvey [4-0] won the accolade as National League Pitcher of the Month for the month of April.
Tonight, Ryan Dempster, who is K-ing 12.9 batters per nine innings, a career record pace will face the Jays in Toronto, his first ever time in Rogers Centre.
“Just a coincidence,” Dempster said of the strikeouts. “The whole game is built off confidence. If you feel good, feel good about yourself and feel good about your stuff, you’re going to go out there ready to get outs.”
J.A. Happ will be the Blue Jays starter, who has dramatically reduced his walk rate.
* Baseball America in their 2013 Prospect Handbook.