BOSTON (CBS) – At 9-11, it’s been an up and down, roller coaster-like start to the 2014 season for the defending champion Boston Red Sox, and perhaps no player on the team better personifies that inconsistency than starting pitcher Clay Buchholz.
Buchholz has two quality starts sandwiched in between two awful outings — his first of the year and Monday’s Patriots’ Day performance where he failed to make it out of the third inning. He’s yet to earn a win, and his 7.71 ERA is four earned runs more than his career average.
Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Adam Jones Show Monday night to discuss what’s been plaguing the talented, but inconsistent starter.
“The stuff just isn’t there. [Monday] there were mixed results. His first couple of innings were alright. You could make the argument he had some bad luck with batted balls. There were some balls that were finding holes, but he was also giving up hard contact — just like in his first start. The stuff just isn’t there. He’s sitting 89, 90mph with his velocity and topping out at 92mph, as opposed to sitting at 92-93mph and reaching back and getting 95mph when he wants it.”
The fastball isn’t there, and the lack of speed is affecting his entire repertoire.
“He’s also really not getting any movement. He’s not getting the swings and misses on his secondary stuff that he’s used to getting, and a lot of that comes off the strength in his arm and the strength in his shoulder. The Red Sox have talked about how it takes time to build up arm strength, and part of it too is that his offseason wasn’t quite the same because he was dealing with that shoulder issue last season, and he started later this year to get through the season healthy.
“The team says he’s healthy, but the power in his arm just isn’t there the way it normally is. Given the injuries he’s had in the past and how finicky shoulders can be, it has to be a cause for concern.”
The Red Sox went through great lengths this offseason to make sure Buchholz could last the season. His throwing schedule and workout regimen was limited, and they also made him the no. 5 starter to keep his innings down and make it more manageable for him.
Despite the team’s best efforts, their approach with Buchholz just hasn’t worked so far. We’ll get a better idea of the effectiveness of their approach if (and hopefully when) his velocity comes back.
MacPherson also touched on Xander Bogaerts’ baserunning error against the Orioles, what can be done to fix instant replay in MLB and he also previewed the Red Sox-Yankees series getting underway Teusday.
Listen below for the full discussion: