SP Clay Buchholz has a lot of talent. When he is on his game, he throws his fastball in the mid-90s and has reached 99 mph in his time in MLB. He mixes his heater with a change-up, cutter and curveball, all of which can baffle hitters. Unfortunately, even with all of the natural ability that Buchholz has been blessed with, he’s done nothing but disappoint the Boston Red Sox and their fans for a while now.
Whether it be because of injuries or inconsistency, Buchholz has just not been as advertised. This has been especially true so far this season. On the year, Buchholz has put up lackluster numbers to the tune of a 2-4 record, 6.32 ERA, 1.85 WHIP and just 35 strikeouts in 47 innings. These numbers would not be good for any pitcher. The fact that they are coming from a pitcher with ace-caliber stuff is troubling to say the least.
His struggles continued on Wednesday night as well. In his outing, he went just 4.2 innings giving up nine hits, five runs, (four earned) two walks and two strikeouts. He also served up two home runs in the game, both to Toronto Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion.
Given those numbers, it is clear that something needs to change with Buchholz and in short order. If he doesn’t improve, the Red Sox may be forced to replace him at some point soon. Even though it would probably take a lot more time with him struggling for that to happen due to the patience they have shown with him so far, there are some notable young arms capable of filling his starting role.
In the team’s farm system, they have several pitchers who are hungry to show what they can offer the big club. Among them are Brandon Workman, Anthony Ranaudo, Allen Webster and Matt Barnes, all of whom are currently biding their time at Triple-A Pawtucket waiting for an opportunity to shine. With Felix Doubront currently on the DL, one of these pitchers is almost certainly going to be called up soon.
If Buchholz doesn’t start pitching up to his capabilities, the team will probably try out some more of their younger guys in the hopes they can change the team’s fortunes a bit. Ultimately, Clay may not have as long a leash as he once did for the team that had so much hope for him not long ago.