BOSTON (CBS) — Clay Buchholz has had his share of tough times in his up-and-down career, but right now he’s on one of his best runs in a Red Sox uniform as the American League East champions barrel into the postseason.
The Red Sox clinched their first division title since 2013 on Wednesday night in a loss to the Yankees, after the Toronto Blue Jays lost to Baltimore. Somewhat lost in the wild ending to the game and the Red Sox’ champagne-soaked celebration was Buchholz’s best outing of the season: 6 innings, no earned runs, 1 hit, and 2 walks on just 89 pitches.
Buchholz is 7-3 with a 2.86 ERA since Aug. 18, splitting time between the rotation and bullpen, but has seized control of his spot in the rotation in September. He has allowed three earned runs or less in seven of his eight starts since the All-Star break. He was also well aware of his 6.51 career ERA at Yankee Stadium and that he was able to overcome it on Wednesday.
“Everyone wants to do well, given this place has been a place that I hadn’t really done well a whole lot against this club. It feels good,” Buchholz told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jonny Miller after the game. “You go in to win the game; we didn’t win tonight but fortunately we’re in the spot we’re in right now, so we’re going to enjoy it.”
Manager John Farrell spoke about Buchholz’s resilience through a season that did not start well and at times had his place on the Red Sox pitching staff in question.
“Tonight, with Clay throwing six shutout innings, he is a snapshot of the resiliency of this team,” said Farrell. “Knocked down, beat up, he finds a way to come back and is now a pivotal member of our rotation.”
David Price noticed. In the middle of Buchholz answering a question about going through tough times, Price suddenly interjected and repeatedly shouted, “He stepped up!” Buchholz is aware of the tough times he’s been through as recent as earlier this season but knows what the Red Sox are capable of with their high-powered offense heading into the postseason.
“We’ve got a really good club. We’ve got the best offense in the game, that’s all I know,” said Buchholz. “Hopefully we can ride their back a little bit and the pitching staff can do the rest of the work that needs to be done to push through. I think everyone’s looking forward to the challenge.”