(This is the second installment of the Red Sox rotation run-down. To view the first one, detailing apparent ace Jon Lester, click here: http://yawkeywayreport.com/red-sox-rotation-run-down/ )
After no-hitters, the similarities between Lester and Clay Buchholz end. One is an imposing lefty, the other a skinny righty with an over the top style. They may be different, but both pitchers have proven to be effective. Buchholz is trying to return to his 2010 All-Star form in which he cruised to a 17-7 record while posting a 2.33 ERA. It appears as though that year may have been a fluke. Since that stellar 2010, he was sidelined in 2011 due to a lower back strain which turned in to a fracture, then in 2012 he posted an 11-8 record with a fat 4.56 ERA–a far cry from the miniscule 2.33. Certainly a regression from the 2010 season was to be expected, but not to that extent. But Buchholz was not alone–last year’s rotations futility has been well documented. This season, like it is for so many other Sox pitchers, will be a season of redemption. It will also be uncharted territory for Buchholz as he projects to be the second in rotation. He will also be one of the veterans who survived the 2011 collapse. This puts him in a leader position he has not been in before.
Hopefully, Buchholz embraces his new role and returns close to 2010 form, although don’t expect an ERA below 3. I would expect a stat line of around a 3.5 ERA, a 12-10 record, and 150 punch outs. These solid stats would keep the Sox in plenty of games which is all they can ask for from Buchholz.