Buchholz Fix Needed Before Season Lost

Eric D. Schabell
Contributing Writer

There is no pity here for a guy that had a sub 2.0 ERA over the first half of last season, making him one of the best pitchers of 2013.

Baseball is about what you do every time you step on the field.

Buchholz is a mess right now with a plus 7.0 ERA and control problems reminiscent of Daniel Bard.

He was scaring the hitters who had to stand in there and just try to keep from being hit. This is not an exaggeration as the pitching charts show.

Last night was the accumulation of a season to be forgotten for Clay Buchholz, walking a career high 8 hitters, giving up 6 runs on 4 hits, and only lasting 3 innings. That is his 10th start and in that period he had less than 5 complete innings in half of his starts.

Last night he looked very, very uncomfortable and was grimacing, stretching, and pacing around between pitches. He was not a presence on the mound at all.

Zooming in on his release point we see that he was pretty consistent.

Buchholz release point yesterday.
But the results have been quite concerning at the landing point of these pitches.

Buchholz location yesterday.
Notice the pitch in the upper left corner? Right-handed hitters yesterday were pretty darn nervous standing in there.

As previously discussed, there are problems with not only the pitching, but there is a time to throw in the towel.

With Buchholz the time is now.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe captured it best when he quoted scouts, former pitchers turned broadcasters, and by media who watched Buchholz walk eight in three-plus innings Monday, "He’s hard to watch right now.”

There is now talk of having him sit out a start or two, of him going on the disabled list whether injured or not, and of him being sent to the minors to work on his mechanics.

When asked if he would consent to that he stated, "No, because I'm healthy. If I wasn't healthy that might be an option in my mind, but that's not really helping matters right now."

The Red Sox would have to adjust their bullpen if Buchholz joined it, but the only relievers who have options are Junichi Tazawa and Burke Badenhop and they're both pitching well enough to stay. Craig Breslow, Doubront, Andrew Miller, and Edward Mujica are all out of options. That means they must clear waivers before being sent to the minors, so the team would be at risk of losing them in attempting to do so.

The bottom line is that Buchholz is supposed to be the Red Sox number two starter.

They need to fix this and fix it now.

It should be the top priority for turning this season around before all is lost.

Post a comment or via twitter @ericschabell with your thoughts.

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