Should We Be Worried About Clay Buchholz?


In Friday’s game against the Yankees, a Red Sox starter gave up five homers in a start for the second time in 13 games. On April 7–the second game of the season–Josh Beckett gave up five in a start against the Tigers and yesterday Clay Buchholz gave up five to the the boys from the Bronx in six innings. Buchholz now carries an even 9.00 ERA in 17.0 IP through 3 starts this month. Coming off a season ending injury in 2011, the question becomes, should we be worried about Clay Buchholz? To try to answer that question, I first want to point out a few statistics from the lanky righty’s career.

First, we’ll look at the most recent sample, 2011. In ’11 Buchholz started the season slow as well, albeit not this slow but slow nonetheless. His numbers for the first month of the season look like this: 27 IP, 5.33 ERA, 6HR, 16 ER, 34 H and a 16/15 K/BB ratio.

As you may recall there was some concern during this period last year and then May came around. During the month of May in 2011, Clay put up a 2.08 ERA in 39 IP while cutting his walk total in half (8), almost doubling his K total (29), and allowing only 29 hits. The numbers would regress a bit in June but stayed quite respectable before the stress fracture in his back ended his 2011 campaign early. June: 16.2 IP, 3.78 ERA, 13 H, 7BB, 16K

Now well look closer at the numbers put up so far in the month of April, 2012.

April 2012: 17 IP, 9.00 ERA, 6 HR, 17 ER, 23H, and a 9/7  K/BB ratio.

Although it’s a smaller sample size so far in 2012, the numbers certainly suggest that this April will end up a little worse than last season. So should we be worried that Clay Buchholz will continue this throughout the season?

I say no and the reason is simple, we looked at the numbers and it’s clear–with the exception of ’10–April just isn’t a good month for the Sox’ number 3 starter. We also have to factor in that he only made 14 starts all of 2011 due to the season ending back injury. The month to pay attention to will be May. In 77 IP over the last two seasons, Buchholz has a 2.69 ERA during the second month of the season, which tells me that things will likely get better as the season treads on.

With this Boston Red Sox team there are plenty of things to worry about going forward but I don’t think Clay Buchholz is one of them. If we need something to keep us up at night we can always visualize the bullpen before we go to bed.

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