Lester, Buchholz struggle out of the gate

Jon Lester struggled with his control in Saturday’s start against the Twins, getting just three outs and giving up five runs. He was unable to find the strike zone with his fastball, walking four hitters, and admitted after the game he was probably a bit nervous.

In today’s game, Clay Buchholz also struggled in his first Spring appearance, giving up a leadoff homer to Jon Knott (who?), followed by four more hits before settling down. He went two innings, allowing four runs on five hits and a walk. He said after the game:

I just told myself I was trying to throw a little bit too hard, I think, in the first inning… When I got back out there… I just tried to let the pitches work instead of trying to make them work.

Throwing too hard can be death for a pitcher, because it means that you lose some on the control end of things, your secondary pitches start flattening out and everything looks like a fastball. Just look at Manny Delcarmen last year. When he was on his game, he was unhittable, but when he overthrew, he looked terrible. They all know they shouldn’t overthrow or get nervous, but human nature is a really powerful thing. Young pitchers just need time and experience to get over it.

Rumors of Craig Hansen‘s comeback may have been premature; he also gave up four runs on three walks, a hit batter, and two 2-run singles in the 9th inning today.


3 Responses to Lester, Buchholz struggle out of the gate

  1. bosoxgirl says:

    I would rather him try to hard during Spring Training, or if any of them are nervous this is the time to do all that stuff and get it out of the way. We all know what good pitchers they are and it’s all going to be fine.

    It was hard to watch them today even though I know it’s only Spring Training games, I get that terrible gut aching and I sit on the edge of my seat. I don’t take the losing to well..

  2. redsoxtalk says:

    Agreed, this is what ST is for. Buchholz never had a bad inning like that at the top level before, so this just gets that out of the way. Now he can focus on execution and let his talent take it from there.

    I’m not being alarmist here, just pointing out the happenings as they happen. But it could turn out to be an entertaining race for that #5 rotation spot.

  3. bosoxgirl says:

    Yes it will be interesting to see who gets it.

    Buchholz I think is going to be a very good pitcher for us. I think that he has great potential and with Varitek behind the plate and guiding him so to speak I can’t wait to see what he has this season.

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