I don't understand, if they were going to tweak his arm angle, why they would have him up at the MLB level. If you're working on pitching mechanics as relevant as Clay is, shouldn't he do this at the AAA level? I know we need his arm in the rotation now, but they had him up over Masterson which doesn't make sense to me if they were still working with Clay's mechanics with Masterson MLB ready.
Omaha Red Sox wrote:I don't understand, if they were going to tweak his arm angle, why they would have him up at the MLB level. If you're working on pitching mechanics as relevant as Clay is, shouldn't he do this at the AAA level? I know we need his arm in the rotation now, but they had him up over Masterson which doesn't make sense to me if they were still working with Clay's mechanics with Masterson MLB ready.
I'm not sure if they are currently tweaking his arm angle, but they definitely were when he was last in AAA. He had gotten good results and decided to bring him up to replace Masterson.
It will be interesting to see what his future holds for him. And it will be interesting to see how he ranks vs the other prospects in next years drafts. I'll be honest that I have my doubts about his upside, but he still has immense talent.
A Sea Dog, not a Sox, Clay Buchholz gave up three earned runs but had no walks in 7 innings. A Sea Dog, not a Sox, Clay Buchholz gave up three earned runs but had no walks in 7 innings. (Joel Page/Associated Press)
By Dan Hickling
PORTLAND, Maine - Forget for a moment that he was facing Double A hitters, and not the big league lineups that have left him flummoxed and forlorn.
Clay Buchholz, toiling in a Portland Sea Dogs uniform, showed once more (and perhaps showed himself) that he has dominating stuff.
Seeing his first action since being sent down by the Red Sox to work with Sea Dogs pitching coach Mike Cather, Buchholz handled himself and manhandled New Britain hitters for most of his seven-inning stint last night.
Buchholz allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits, fanned eight, and didn't walk anyone. As often as not, he showed command of his repertoire, especially his offspeed selection of curveballs and changeups.
Although he departed with a 5-4 lead, he did not factor in the decision, a 6-5 Portland loss.
"I felt really good," Buchholz said. "There were a lot of mechanical things that I've been thinking about, that I didn't try to think about. I went back to what I did last year when I was here. They seemed to work real well for me. So I tried to revert back to that a little bit."
Buchholz had six strong innings and one rocky one, the third, when New Britain touched him for three runs on three hits.
While velocity never seemed to be an issue - he topped out at 95 m.p.h. on at least four occasions - Buchholz seemed to be in better command of his curveball.
"It's a good pitch," said Buchholz, "when I have the confidence enough to throw it. That's what I've been lacking a little bit."
Five of his strikeouts came via his familiar "12-to-6" bender, arcing in the high 70s, with two more coming on changeups. And all but one came on swinging third strikes, an indication of how tantalizing those offerings were.
Buchholz was a little shaky out of the gate, throwing three straight balls (all fastballs) to New Britain leadoff man Matt Tolbert (who is down from Minnesota on injury rehab).
He came back to square the count, then got Tolbert to hit an easy grounder to second.
Buchholz breezed through the second (issuing a seeing-eye single to Australian Daniel Berg), but struggled the next inning, when the Rock Cats, sitting on a stream of fastballs, opened with singles by Radolfo Palacios and Brandon Roberts, then got an RBI double by Tolbert.
Buchholz was nicked for two more runs before the inning was over, then settled down.
"The third inning seems to be my nemesis this whole year," Buchholz said. "But it wasn't as bad. I wasn't out there thinking, 'Oh, here it goes again.' I left a couple balls over the middle of the plate and they hit them."
At one point, Buchholz set down nine Rock Cats in order, fanning four of them.
That string ended in the sixth, when Danny Valencia's fly ball to center was misplayed into a two-run error. That was followed by Dustin Martin's RBI double to shallow center.
Buchholz finished off the night - Clay Buchholz Bobblehead Night, as fortune would have it - by setting down the final five Rock Cats he faced.
"It felt like when I committed to a pitch, they either hit it weakly or didn't hit it at all," he said. "It's coming along."
Buchholz's next start is Saturday, when the Dogs, who are in the thick of the Eastern League playoff race, will host New Hampshire.
Buchholz's short night leads to Sox loss Righty optioned to Double-A after rough outing against O's By Ian Browne / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Call Wednesday night a complete loss for Clay Buchholz. First went the four-run lead the Red Sox had built for the right-hander entering the bottom of the second inning. Then went the game, an 11-6 defeat to the Orioles. And then, what was an all but inevitable trip to manager Terry Francona's office.
Just moments after Buchholz's latest evening of mound exasperation had ended, Francona and pitching coach John Farrell optioned the highly-talented right-hander to Double-A Portland.
There wasn't much choice, and Buchholz knew it. Not after he went just 2 1/3 innings, following his previous three-inning shellacking in Chicago.
"I hate to say it's the right decision, but I believe it was," said Buchholz, who is 2-9 with a 6.75 ERA. "It's never good to say I expected to get sent down. But the last couple of starts, it's hard to think they could give me anymore opportunities than they have in this stretch -- especially with only a month and a half left in the season and the pennant race as close as it is right now."
Fortunately for the Red Sox (73-54), Tampa Bay also lost, keeping the deficit in the American League East at 4 1/2 games. But the Twins won, slicing Boston's lead in the Wild Card standings to a half-game.
The Red Sox are 3-12 in Buchholz's 15 starts, and 70-42 when anyone else starts
In this one, Buchholz gave up three hits and five runs while walking three and striking out none. He threw 60 pitches, 30 of which were strikes.
"I think we felt like we need to give him a little bit of a new start, because it's obviously not working right now," said Francona. "I think we all believe strongly that it will work. At the moment, it's difficult."
With off-days on Thursday and Monday, and Tim Wakefield expected to return from the disabled list soon, the Red Sox won't need to find a replacement in the rotation for Buchholz. A corresponding roster move will be made to replace Buchholz before Friday night's game in Toronto.
In recent weeks, the Red Sox have tried everything in an effort to get a reversal of fortune from Buchholz.
First, they sent him to Triple-A, giving him almost two months to focus in a less-stressful environment. Since his return in mid-July, Francona and Farrell both spent extra hours on various days talking to the talented right-hander in hopes of keeping his confidence afloat. They gave him a nine-day break between starts, hoping that would help from both a physical and mental standpoint.
But it all went for naught, as was clear for all to see on Wednesday night.
"I've never had a streak like this," said Buchholz. "It's sort of hard for me to describe what I'm going through. You can pretty much, everything you see on the field, that's basically what it amounts to. It's hard times right now."
The 24-year-old pitcher, who threw a no-hitter against the Orioles (61-65) last Sept. 1, has been unable to get anything going.
"The biggest thing to me is last year was a lot easier," said Buchholz. "I hadn't been around. You get a couple of starts under your belt, and everyone knows who you are and knows what you've got. It overtook everything I was doing last year, which was just going out and throwing and not thinking too much. This year, I'd have headaches after the second inning, I was trying to think so hard."
This one slipped away in a hurry, as Buchholz simply didn't have command.
"What's kind of hard to understand is he had as good a stuff as I've seen," Francona said. "Power on his fastball. I just think that there's some reasons why you have to send a guy out. We had a 4-0 lead and he shook to get to a changeup on a 3-1 count. It got away. Unfortunately, what made it worse is when we went to the bullpen, it got away worse."
David Aardsma tried to rescue Buchholz in the third, but was greeted by a three-run homer from Ramon Hernandez that center fielder Coco Crisp came just inches from bringing back into the park. Instead, Crisp fell into the bullpen without the baseball. Lefty specialist Javy Lopez, pitching in an unfamiliar role in the fourth, gave up a three-run homer to Melvin Mora.
"It was close," said Crisp. "It couldn't have been more than six inches. It was a good try. Well-hit ball, good attempt, tried to catch it. I just couldn't reach out far enough."
The Red Sox ran so low on pitchers that position player Alex Cora nearly pitched the bottom of the eighth. Cora warmed up in the bullpen, but after Boston cut the deficit back to five runs in the top of the inning, Francona felt obligated to bring back lefty Hideki Okajima -- the only Boston pitcher of the night not to give up a run -- for a second inning of work.
"If we wouldn't have scored, we probably would have [brought Cora in]," Francona said. "Like I said, felt an obligation when we scored. We're trying to make a game of it. You see Coco jump over a wall like that, and again, you appreciate AC going out there, but that's a tough one because we're not down 10. We were swinging the bats. It was a tough decision."
The same could not be said of the decision to send Buchholz to the Minors. The reason Buchholz is going to Double-A instead of Triple-A is so he can be reunited with Portland pitching coach Mike Cather. Buchholz has worked with Cather probably more than any other coach in the organization.
Buchholz will now try to regroup after Wednesday's abbreviated outing.
"It was pretty bad," said Buchholz. "When our team scores six runs, we should win every time with the guys we have on our pitching staff. It is what it is. People have tough games. I've had a tough year. It's hard to swallow right now."
If anything, Buchholz sounded grateful that the Red Sox gave him as many opportunities as they did.
"I've never been one to say the pressure was too much for me, but I've felt like I've had a lot of weight on my shoulders just trying to be perfect and trying to do everything as well as I could to help this team win," Buchholz said. "I haven't been doing it near good enough. I knew the decision was coming and had to be made soon. They've given me ample opportunity to help this team and to help myself up here, and it just hasn't worked out."
Honestly, I love this move.
Check out this line today: 8IP, 2H, 1BB, 10K.
Go ahead and make yourself look smart and take a chance on this kid.