Clay Buchholz keeps Red Sox Nation hanging on

Bill Foley (@foles74)
Contributing Writer

Clay Buchholz is like that girl who keeps playing with our hearts.
(Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

We’ve all had that girl (or guy) in our lives. The one who keeps us hanging on. One night she does everything to make us think we have found the love of our life. The next night she makes out with our best friend.

That has been the career of the great tease that is Clayton Daniel Buchholz. He started pulling on our heartstrings from the second we met him in 2007.

On Sept. 1 of that season Buchholz no-hit the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park. It was just his second start for the Red Sox, and we dreamed of the great addition to the rotation that already featured Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka on top of their game.

Just then we thought Buchholz would be our Prom date, though, he was busy washing his hair. He made just two more starts in 2007, and he was shut down for the season after experience shoulder fatigue. At 23.

From there, Buchholz has been up-and-down so much it has made our heads and our hearts hurt. He has looked like a Cy Young winner at times and a Class A scrub at others.

He struggled through 2008 with a 2-9 record, was OK with a 7-4 mark in 2009 and finally looked ready to be an ace by going 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA in 2010.

That was followed by two mediocre seasons before going 12-1 with a 1.74 record in 2013. Of course, he went from Cy Young frontrunner to a disabled list tease that season.

Even though there was talk he was going to scratch himself from a World Series start, he did redeem himself in 2013 by going four gutsy innings in a Game 4 win in St. Louis when he was clearly hurting.

Last season Buchholz pitched 170.1 innings, second only to his 2010 season, but he was mediocre at best, going 8-11 with a 5.34 ERA. He went on the disabled list even when he said he wasn’t hurt.

At times last season he was really bad, like when he walked eight batters in Atlanta. Lately the highs haven’t been as high and the lows are really, really low.

This year, Buchholz said he was healthy in spring, and he got everybody’s hopes up by striking out nine Phillies in seven shutout innings in Boston’s 8-0 win in Philadelphia.

That had the Nation’s hopes extremely high for a sweep in the Bronx with Buchholz taking the hill for the Sunday night game on ESPN. Buchholz responded by walking Jacoby Ellsbury to lead off the game, and he ended the night before it even started by giving up seven runs in the first inning.

What made it even harder to watch (aside from listening to Schilling and John Kruk) was that Buchholz didn’t even seem to care that he was getting humiliated on national TV.

Once again we thought we had the girl of our dreams. Instead, we saw her walking out the door holding hands with somebody else.