It looks as if Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz is back to the level he’s capable of based off what we’ve seen in two starts since returning from the disabled list, or at least close to where he should be.
Buchholz was strong once again on Tuesday night against the Chicago Cubs, pitching into the seventh inning, allowing one run on five hits, no walks and two strikeouts. While it came against a weak Chicago lineup, it was another step in the right direction for Buchholz, who is just one year removed from the being arguably the best pitcher in the American League.
Like his last start out against the Seattle Mariners, Buchholz hit a rough patch early. And like the Seattle start, he settled in, refused to get rattled, and got into a groove.
After throwing 21 pitches in the first, putting two runners on via a base hit and hit-by-pitch, Buchholz went three-up, three-down in four straight frames. He retired 13 straight batters between the first and sixth. Buchholz needed just 47 pitches to get through innings 2-5, retiring the side on six pitches in the third inning.
Once again, Buchholz did a good job of mixing pitches, his secondary pitches falling in for strikes, and keeping the ball down. He had trust in his stuff, he looked familiar and comfortable with his stuff. The trust and comfort that he lacked for the first two months of the season. It’s the silver lining that comes of yet another loss to a lowly Cubs team. Buchholz appears to be finding his rhythm after a putrid start to the season, just like what was seen in 2012.
While it looks more and more like little will come of the 2014 season for Boston, a strong second half for Buchholz can at the very least carry over to the 2015 season, just as it carried over to 2013 after he pitched well in 2012 despite the team not being in contention.
And we all know what happened in 2013.