Red Sox Memories: Clay Buchholz throws a no-hitter in his second start

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox have seen several no-hitters in their recent history and one of the more impressive feats belongs to right-hander Clay Buchholz.

Baseball is easily the most romantic sport there is. When I say that, I don’t mean romantic in the usual way it’s used. I’m using it more in reference to how fondly we remember what happens within the game and its history. One of the greatest feats that can be accomplished by a pitcher is throwing a no-hitter. This is something the Red Sox got very familiar with during the early parts of the 2000s.

Over the span of eight years, the Red Sox pitching staff threw an impressive four no-hitters. To put that into perspective, Boston went 36 years in between no-nos. Though it was Hideo Nomo that broke the streak in 2001 in a 3-0 victory against the Orioles, we’re here today to talk about the final of the four. That honor belongs to Clay Buchholz, and the righty may have the most important one of them all.

Yeah, we may remember Derek Lowe‘s for his dominance or Jon Lester‘s for the emotional rollercoaster that was his life and career, but it’s Buchholz that has his name in the history books twice. Not only is the righty in the ledger for tossing his no-hitter, but he did it in just his second start in the Majors.

Clay was called up earlier in the 2007 season and would be making his way back to Pawtucket before he even had time to shower after the game. Then when September rolled around he was once again with the big club and decided he was going to earn his way onto the roster. He would get his chance against the Baltimore Orioles and he didn’t let it pass him by.

The lanky right-hander would throw a gem of a game allowing just three Orioles onto the basepaths. Obviously they didn’t get there via smacking the ball, Clay did put three walks on the board, this wasn’t a perfect game of course. Still, he used 115 pitches to vanquish Baltimore that night and 73 of those would be for strikes.

Boston would win the game 10-0 and run their record to 81-55, a season that would finish at 96-66 for first in the AL East. We all know that no-hitters and perfect games don’t come easily, though. The ball could always take a nasty bounce off of the dirt or the sun could shine just right that the outfielder can lose track of what would be an easy out. Well, this no-no was no different and Clay had some help from his friends on this night.

Legendary Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has always been a monster on defense, and I say that in every sense of the word. Very rarely did a ground ball get by the Dirt Dog as he would gobble anything that game near him like he was Pac-Man. That defensive prowess would come in handy as he saved the no-hitter by diving to stop a surefire single and turned it into an out at first.

Pitchers have to have nothing but pure faith in their catchers and their defenders as they’re the ones that have to do plenty of the heavy lifting. There needs to be the right pitch selection for the situation and the defense has to be in the right position based on the hitter’s tendencies. All the stars aligned on this night for Clay and he added another no-hitter to the Red Sox record books.

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There was also a common theme between all of Boston’s recent no-hitters, Jason Varitek. The former Red Sox captain was the heart of each of the no-no’s and has the record for catching the most no-hitters. I’ll be talking more about how damn good at Tek is at catching tomorrow, this one’s all about Buck.

I mentioned earlier that this one may be the most important of the recent feats and there’s a good reason for that. Clay tossed his no-hitter in his second Major League start, making him the third pitcher since 1900 to do so. That’s right Red Sox Nation, our man Buck is one of three dudes to toss a no-no in his first or second start since the dawn of the 20th century. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must’ve felt like to not only throw a no-hitter but to be in such an elite grouping.

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The Red Sox have become very friendly with the no-hitter in their recent history. I wouldn’t be surprised to see another added to the record book with Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez on the roster. When it comes to history though, it’s hard to deny what Clay Buchholz did on that fall night. He will forever be in baseball’s record books not only for his no-hitter but for doing so in just his second Major League start.