It's been quite a season for Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz. Buchholz was the dominant arm in the early going, made the All-Star team, caused a minor incident in Toronto and was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA. Then he slept funny, missed three months, underwent MRI's, CAT scans, second opinions and had his toughness questioned. All that ends Tuesday in Tampa.
Buchholz is back.
Buchholz returns to the mound to face a Rays team that currently trails the Sox by 7 1/2 games in the AL East. It's expected that Buchholz will throw between 70-80 pitches. After not pitching for 94 days, Buchholz said he's ready for this start and more.
“Mentally I’m ready. I think that’s what everyone was questioning — mental toughness and everything. But I know my body better than everybody else does. I’m comfortable pitching now. There’s nothing wrong that’s come up. Hopefully [I'll] have four starts left in the season. That’s for us to keep winning and get ready for the starts in October. That’s when everything really matters. We’ve got to get there first. But I want to make sure I’m ready for that. That’s the only goal I have in my head right now is to be ready.”
With Buchholz joining the rotation, left-hander Felix Doubront will miss a start. Manager John Farrell said,
“We’re going to skip him this time through the rotation just to give him some recovery time, a little added rest, just as we’ve done with a couple of other guys in the rotation. We feel like the guys who are keeping the game under control [are the ones who should be in this turn of the rotation]. Felix, feel like he needs some added days right now.”
Doubront has pitched four innings or fewer in four of his last six outings, with a 6.60 ERA in that span. Doubront is 10-6 with a 4.15 ERA on the year.