A HUGE Start For Clay Buchholz Today.
Tonight at Fenway Park will be one of those nights when the excitement of the fans throughout Red Sox Nation will be a physical presence, an entity unto itself. Clay Buchholz will be making his first big league start since his two month "sabbatical" at AAA Pawtucket. He was sent down so the coaches could work with him to alter his arm/hand position, moving them farther away from his head when he's going to throw his fastball. This, they hoped, would allow him to rediscover the movement on that pitch, a pivitol one when combined with his killer curve. And ya know what? It seems to have worked. He had a 4-2 record with an ERA of 2.47 in nine starts. In four consecutive starts between June 14-30, he was 4-0 with an unbelievable ERA of (get this!) 0.47. His last start was his only recent blemish, but it is said that the strike zone that night was wildly unpredictable. So throw that one out. Here's what his catcher and his manager had to say...
“You throw a no-hitter in your second outing and your expectations are way too high,” catcher Jason Varitek said. “He’s going to be good, really good. Just like Jon Lester, though, he’s going to take lumps and he’s going to go backwards and he’s going to go forward and he’s going to go back a little bit until you hit a complete level of experience and knowing themselves.”
“He is adapting.” Francona said. “When you’re talking about arm slots, you want a guy to be able to do so with consistency. It probably will be a little bit of a work in progress,” Francona continued, “but with his stuff, I think we’re all confident it will be a successful work in progress.”
Peter here, and 'Tek hit the nail on the head. Clay cannot be expected to throw a shutout every time out, but if his ERA stays under 3.00, he will do just fine and he'll be the added and much needed notch in a fairly solid rotation. Paired with Jon Lester, the two twenty-somethings will be the core of the rotation for many, many years to come. And don't forget about Josh "Baseball" Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka. They are also in their twenties...that's SO sweet. And Timmy keeps on keeping on...just the way we like it.
Last night the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays lost their fourth in a row. The pinstriped ones also went down, so the Thursday off day was a productive one for Boston...it gave everybody a day off while gaining in the standings. And now comes the final three game set before the much needed All Star break, although seven of our guys will be traveling to the Big Apple for the game, not to mention Tito Francona himself. Here are your pitching matchups for that weekend series...
Brian Burres (6-5, 5.07 ERA) vs. Clay Buchholz (2-3, 5.53) tonight
Radhames Liz (3-1, 5.94) vs. Tim Wakefield (5-6, 3.75) Saturday
Daniel Cabrera (6-4, 4.40) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-1, 2.84) Sunday
That's a wrap for today, Friday, July 11, 2008. The summer is flying by as if it had wings and two jet engines. I hope you have a great weekend, and GO SOX. As always, BE WELL. Thanks for stopping by...with greatly diminished blog readership, I love it that you still have the time to pop in and say hello. Hello back!!! Click on the title for something Soxy.