One Bad Inning Continues to Haunt Clay Buchholz


It appeared that the best way to motivate Clay Buchholz to pitch well is to start discussing his options once Aaron Cook is recalled.  Buchholz has struggled in April this year and talks of sending him to either the bullpen or to AAA Pawtucket for some work were both discussed recently.  Monday night Buchholz took the mound for his fifth start on the year and for six innings it looked as though he had turned the corner and was on the road to redemption.

During the first six frames we saw the old Clay Buchholz who was in complete command and mixing up his pitch sequence nicely.  He was able to get his fastball down, something he’s struggled with all season long.   Buchholz was cruising and his pitch count was in the low 70’s when he entered the seventh.  The way things were going it looked like he might challenge a complete game.  Then the seventh inning came and the wheels fell off.

He quickly fell behind, walked two batters, gave up two singles and finally allowed Josh Reddick some redemption by taking him deep to right for a three run shot.  That would be all for Buchholz, going 6.2 innings, allowing 6 earned runs on 7 hits, walked 5 and fanned 5.  The big inning again haunted Clay Buchholz and as a result his ERA continues to float well north of 8.00.

The one bad inning has been an all too common trend for the lanky righty. His previous start against the Twins he again looked to be in complete control only to surrender 5 earned runs in the sixth despite getting the win.

The start before that against the Yankees he was again tagged for 5 earned runs when he allowed the Yanks to score early and often.

His second start of the season he allowed 4 runs in the top of the first against Tampa Bay.  While he did settle down and was the recipient of some high powered offense en route to the victory it was once again the big inning that tormented Buchholz.

And of course there was the game against the Detroit Tigers when Buchholz surrendered 4 runs in the first and another 3 in the next few innings in what was an ugly season debut.

You can’t point to fatigue as the problem as it has happened at the beginning as well as the tail end of his starts.  Perhaps in Minnesota he was left in the game one batter too long but he still managed to get into the jam.  Rather it seems to be mechanical and not being able to locate his pitches, namely his fastball.  If his back strain is at all concerning him that would explain the inability to put his heater down in the zone.

The trend has been a concerning one for Clay Buchholz and the Red Sox.  Now with Aaron Cook looming and threatening to force manager Bobby Valentine to start him, Buchholz may be the one who is the odd man out.  The bullpen is the less likely of the two options meaning a stint in AAA could be in the cards for #11 and if things don’t improve he could be fighting for his spot on the Red Sox roster.  Let’s hope he can tame the wild innings that spoil his otherwise strong starts.

For all the latest news and analysis from BoSox Injection, follow us on TwitterFacebook, or with our RSS feed.