BOSTON (CBS) – Earlier in the season, Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz was picking up wins when he didn’t deserve them.
In his final two starts of April, Buchholz allowed 11 runs over 13 innings, but managed to pick up the win in each of them with the Sox scoring 18 runs. He finished the month 3-1, but sported an 8.69 ERA.
Now, Buchholz is pitching extremely well, tossing eight and seven innings of one-run ball in his last two starts, but didn’t factor in the decision in either of them.
But the Red Sox picked up two much-needed wins in each of those starts, and that is all Buchholz is concerned about.
“I think every starter goes out to do one thing which is pitch as deep in the game you can and give your team a chance to win,” Buchholz said after allowing just one run off three hits in Boston’s 2-1 win over the Texas Rangers Tuesday night. “It was a tough team to score against and a tough team to hold down; I’m really happy we got the win.”
“Buchholz was fantastic,” said manager Bobby Valentine. “He’s being a very good pitcher with all of his pitches low in the zone, able to throw them all at any time in the count. He can add a little on his fastball when he needs to. He’s just being an overall good pitcher.”
Buchholz, now 8-3 with a 4.93 ERA, held the Texas lineup scoreless for the first five innings before allowing his lone run on the evening on an RBI groundout by Josh Hamilton in the sixth. He admitted that the Texas humidity started to get to him later in the game, but he was able to overcome and keep the Rangers from building a lead.
“I started overthrowing there a little bit, but for the most part I was able to miss a couple bats. They have a ton of guys in that lineup that can hit the ball out of the park at any time,” said Buchholz. “That’s the toughest part of pitching to a team like this – keeping guys off base and letting the big outs happen.”
For the evening, the Rangers had just six baserunners when Buchholz was on the hill; with one picked off and two erased by a double play.
“It’s all about comfort level; whenever you’re out there comfortable throwing pitches to both sides of the plate and letting them work, rather than going out there and forcing them to work, I think results will happen,” said Buchholz. “The results may not be what you want every time out, but it’s the process of getting to that point knowing that it works and you can go out there and trust it.”
After missing half of the season with a lower back issue last year, Buchholz was disappointed with the way he kicked off 2012. He missed time due to a bout of esophogitis last month, but has now given up just six runs over his last 21.1 innings pitched. He and his manager are now seeing a much more focused pitcher on the hill, which is what this staff needs most right now.
“I think his arm was good when the season started and he wasn’t totally into the competition. He totally is now,” said Valentine.
“It didn’t start out the way I would have liked or the team would have liked, but that sort of puts it in perspective to go out there after the All-Star break and pitch as well as I can,” said Buchholz. “Bad starts are going to happen, but if you minimize them then that’s what I’m looking at.”