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BOSTON (CBS) – A confident Clay Buchholz is taking the mound for the Boston Red Sox this season, and that spells trouble for the rest of Major League Baseball.
Just ask the Toronto Blue Jays, who Buchholz held to just two hits in seven shutout innings on Wednesday night, picking up his major-league leading sixth win of the season in the process.
Buchholz threw all his pitches effectively in the 10-1 victory, and more importantly, mixed them all together to keep Jays batters off-balance at the plate. Whether it was the two-seamer, change-up, cutter or curve, the Jays had no chance against Buchholz, who added eight more strikeouts to his team-leading total (now at 47) and lowered his AL-best ERA to just 1.01.
“He was in command and in control the entire seven innings out there,” manager John Farrell said of Buchholz’ outing. “He had good secondary stuff to go with his fastball that he located consistently through the night. He continues to pitch with a lot of confidence.”
In his six starts this season, Buchholz has allowed a total of five earned runs.
“(He’s been) very consistent, very poised on the mound,” Farrell said of the his pitcher’s stellar start to the season. “The maturity continues to play out in situations where he needs to make a pitch with men on base. He wasn’t really challenged, and that’s not to take away from the Blue Jays, but he was in command from the get-go.”
Buchholz said he really didn’t feel like he had his command until the second time through the Toronto lineup, though he could have fooled everyone. The Jays mustered just a walk and a single the first time through the order, and Buchholz struck out the side (with that single mixed in) in the third.
He said as the game went on his curve got sharper and had more bite to it. And though he didn’t feel great throwing his two-seamer, catcher David Ross kept calling for it. That gave Buchholz a boost of confidence in the pitch, and it ultimately clicked.
Buchholz said the great communication with his battery mates — whether it be Ross or Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate — is a big part of his success this season.
“There isn’t a whole lot of shaking off, or if it is shaken off its going to the same type of pitch,” said Buchholz. “Knowing the guy that’s catching you has confidence in what you’re throwing out there, and you’re thinking the same thing, it makes the game flow a little bit better.”
“It’s fun pitching (well),” he said. “There are going to be bumps in the road, starts where you don’t have your best stuff and get hit around. Everyone goes through it, but you try to ride the wave as long as it’s there.”