BOSTON (CBS) – Clay Buchholz and the Boston Red Sox are searching for answers.
Buchholz was roughed up once again Sunday afternoon, giving up five runs off seven hits and four walks over just 3.2 innings pitched against the Orioles in Boston’s 9-6, 17 inning loss.
With the outing, Buchholz became the first Red Sox pitcher in 87 years to surrender five or more runs in six straight games. He gave up three homers, bringing his total for the season to 10, and his 9.09 ERA is worst among American League pitchers who qualify.
“I’ve been upset with myself for the past six weeks,” Buchholz said after the game. “It’s just frustrating to go out there and make some good pitches and still get hit. It’s not easy. I have to keep telling myself it’s not that easy. It looks easy for some guys but sometimes you have to go through some struggles to get where you want to be. I think that’s where I’m at right now. Just gotta find a way through it.”
Buchholz’ slump to start the season has the Red Sox wondering if they’ll have to make a switch in their rotation.
“Clay’s performance was not what he wanted it to be, for sure,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “Not what I wanted it to be. Left a lot of pitches in a real hittable zone. Gave up a lot of hard-hit balls.”
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“There were a lot of pitchers used today,” added Valentine. “He was one of them and I’ve got to figure out what to do; how to get by with all these guys who really did a yeoman’s job today. I have no plans to change them.”
“At this time,” Valentine said after a short pause.
It’s important to note that the Red Sox do have one more minor league option remaining on Buchholz, and could send him down to Pawtucket if they feel it is needed. Buchholz was sent down to Double-A Portland in 2008 after a shaky start to the season, returning after the All-Star break in 2009 to become one of the top young pitchers in baseball.
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That was until he suffered a back injury last season that sidelined him from mid-June. Since his return, Buchholz has been anything but the ERA-crown runner-up in 2010. Right now he isn’t sure what is bothering him on the hill, but knows it’s up to him to figure it out.
“I’m getting paid to do this job, so I’ve got to find a way to get through it,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m not thinking enough. I know I’m preparing enough. I prepared for this start today more than I have any other start all year as far as scouting, looking at video, reading up and stuff.”
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“I think the years that I’ve thrown good, when I’ve made a mistake they’ve either fouled it off or swung and missed it. It seems like every mistake I’ve made this year has been a home run. It’s different this year,” said Buchholz. “But it will work out. It has to.”