What’s up with Clay Buchholz?


With the acquisition of Paul Byrd, it seems that the Red Sox are ready to supplant Clay Buchholz in the rotation, at least temporarily. At least one major statistical analyst thinks that was a stupid decision. Since being called back up to the Major Leagues on July 11, he’s gone 0-5 with a 7.42 ERA. Hitters are teeing off to the tune of .320/.397/.576 with 8 HR on him over those six starts. What is going on here? Is this really the same guy who threw the no-hitter last year?

Buchholz was sent to Triple-A with a mandate to change his arm slot slightly and to work on using his fastball to set up everything else. Brooks Baseball uses PITCHf/x to show that Buchholz’s fastball has been eminently hittable, and that he’s been throwing his changeup way less than early this year. FanGraphs shows that he’s throwing fewer fastballs than ever, while relying more on his curve.

If the Sox are indeed pushing him to start each batter with a fastball strike like every other pitcher, they should just stop. Let the boy pitch how he wants, as long as it is effective and doesn’t endanger his arm. And if the arm angle is bothering him, let him go back to his 12 o’clock delivery. Maybe that’s why they got Byrd, to buy him some time to go back to his old delivery at Pawtucket.

A really good comment thread on this issue here (there is some gory detail on pitching statistics mixed in too).

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2 Responses to What’s up with Clay Buchholz?

  1. Pingback: Buchholz sent to Pawtucket, Wakefield getting closer « Red Sox Talk

  2. redsoxtalk says:

    Peter Bendix at Beyond the Box Score chalks up Buchholz’ season to bad luck:
    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2008/8/25/600537/what-s-wrong-with-clay-buc

    But start after start? It goes beyond luck, IMHO. It’s a mechanics and command issue (not to be confused with control, which results in walks).

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