After being sent to the bullpen, former Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz broke his silence, and discussed his new role.
It is hard to believe, but this September will mark the nine-year anniversary of when a young Red Sox pitcher shocked Major League Baseball by throwing a no-hitter in his second career start. And now, 175 starts later, that same pitcher has been moved to the bullpen, becoming the mockery of his team’s fan base in the process.
When Clay Buchholz no-hit the Baltimore Orioles, baseball and Red Sox fans alike saw the future of Boston Sports; an ace, ready to carry the torch of Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling into the subsequent decade.
Now, they view him as the bane of the team’s existence, a blockade on the team’s road to the World Series, and a leading cause of chest pain and headaches in the Greater Boston Area.
It is ironic that John Farrell dismissed the 31 year-old right-hander from his role just before he was set to square off against the team he no-hit on the first of September in 2007. Rather than having another opportunity to conquer his team’s rival in the American League East, Clay Buchholz sat in the bullpen, as Eduardo Rodriguez made his first career start and beat the Orioles 5-2.
Buchholz broke his silence on Wednesday in an interview with WEEI’s Rob Bradford.
“Obviously it’s not the type of news you want to hear for yourself. I took it as a demotion and I needed a couple of days to take a breather from just talking about it, sort of get it out of my head and try to figure out a routine that will work for me. It is what it is,” said Buchholz. “I’m here to pitch. Regardless of if it’s starting or relieving, I still have to do what I can do to help the team out in any way I can.”
The two time All Star has had a rough season, to say the least. At present, Buchholz has a 6.24 ERA, and 2-5 record as a starter. He’s given up 60 hits, 40 earned runs, and recorded just 38 strikeouts in ten starts. By contrast, in 2013, Buchholz went 12-1, giving up just 75 hits, 21 earned runs, and recording 96 strikeouts.
“The last three or four starts, I’ve been around long enough to know if you’re not doing your job it’s a business and they have to find somebody who is going to do better. So that weighs on you a little bit knowing that every day you have go out there and you have to throw better than you have,” he said. “So that’s putting added stress and pressure on each pitch, on each start. It builds up even if you’re not thinking about it. It just takes one swing of the bat to have that thought come back in your head.
It is clear that Buchholz understands his demotion, and is still working on how to embrace his new role.
“I’ll just try and take it in stride and try and figure out how this new situation can work for me and how I can make it work to the best of my ability,” he said. “It’s going to be different as far as the approach in terms of warming up and all that stuff. You don’t know when you’re throwing. It can be a situation where it’s a couple of outs in one inning, or whatever. I think that will be the No. 1 I’m going to have to try and figure out, how to prepare for this spot. I don’t think it’s going to be that difficult. It’s going to take a handful of times to come out of the pen and coming into an inning, regardless of how may men are on base. It will just take a couple of times and know how much I need to throw to get ready to go out for an inning. Once I figure that I think things should fall into place for me.”
While as Red Sox fans we may rejoice in his demotion, it is important to remember that Buchholz has two World Series rings. And, as the Red Sox widen their lead in the American League East, and the playoffs draw near, Buchholz, even in the bullpen, will have an important role to play, if not on the mound, then in the dugout as a veteran.