Calling the Red Sox consistently inconsistent in the month of June would come across as generous to the vast majority of the baseball world. Prior to last night’s slim 2-1 victory, they were Losers of four straight and seven of their last eight games leaving dreadful as a more appropriate term when describing their recent performances (or lack thereof). However, the same cannot be said regarding to someone who just a little over a month ago was in absolute shambles and was in jeopardy of being taken out of the rotation. That someone is Clay Buchholz.
His 4-2 record through his first eight starts of the season redefined the word deceptive as his 7.77 ERA was reminiscent of the unemployment rate in America, his velocity had disappeared and his composure….Nowhere to be found. I was fortunate enough (for a lack of better terms) to have been at the 100th anniversary celebration when he gave up five homeruns (two of ERIC CHAVEZ’S three HR’s this season) en route to an embarrassing 6-2 loss to the team that Jesus hates the most. He could not locate fastball that was of the batting practice variety and became immediately frazzled the minute he allowed a base runner. A trip to the disabled list for the bad back that forced him to miss almost the entire 2011 season seemed like a logical possibility. A demotion to Pawtucket was another. In reality no move was made which ended up being the correct choice all along. It was a gutsy move by Bobby V and Bob McClure to continue to allow him to work out of his slump on his own, possibly sacrificing the teams ability to win every fifth day that he took the mound in the process. This risk has paid off considerably as Buchholz is now 4-1 with a 2.83 ERA since May 11th, undefeated in the month of June (3-0) and has recorded the only two victories his team has had in its last nine contests. Due to his recent success, Buchholz has exemplified a great deal of confidence in his demeanor on the mound which can be a scary thing for opposing hitters trying to have success of their own when he toes the rubber. Confidence is the centralizing theme that has elevated his game in the past month and was also what plagued him in the beginning months of the season. The best example of this growth came in the first inning of last night’s ball game. Jose Reyes hit a leadoff triple with no outs posing an immediate threat for Buchholz. The odds that he was going to score equaled “Manny Wood’s” number when he was playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers (99) So Which Clay Buchholz was going to show up against the meat of Miami’s order? ( Infante, Ramirez, Stanton) The disgruntled version that suffered immense head trauma when allowing opposing runners into scoring position or the cool calm collective Clay that would rear back and take this challenge head on… If you guessed the ladder he one upped your expectations as he took the hardest route possible getting three swinging strikeouts leaving Reyes stranded 90 feet away. In retrospect this example of mental toughness and exuberance was the difference between a victory and a no decision that eventually could have lead to a possible loss for Buchholz and the Red Sox. It’s been rumored that in the last month he has added a splitter which has added another element to his repertoire with the four seam fastball, two seamer, cutter, change up and curve ball. His breaking stuff has been dynamite buckling hitters knees and increasing his strikeout ratio in significantly important directions. Buchholz appears to be fearless which can be the most dangerous trait a 27 year old pitcher can possibly possess leaving opposing managers with nothing but headaches.
About the Author
Written by Jefferson Mills
I am a 22 year old aspiring sports journalist. I graduated from Hofstra University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and was born and raised in Norwood, MA, twenty minutes south of the great city of Boston. Sports consume my life in every which way as I have been an athlete since the age of 8 playing organized football, baseball and basketball throughout high school and have been an avid die-hard Patriots, Bruins, Red Sox and Celtics fan. I Interned for the "Mecca of Sports Radio" WFAN 660 AM while in college and also interned for News 12 Long Island. Working as a member of the hardest working sports department in one of the most talented college radio stations 88.7 FM WRHU is the one thing I am most proud of when it comes to my work in the field. My passion and work ethic define who I am as a writer, person and friend which is why I hope to become successful in the sports Broadcasting spectrum in years to come.