Clay Buchholz Disabled List Day

Clay Buccholz Disabled List Day—an annual tradition in which we see Buccholz show signs of why many could consider him a top of the rotation guy. But then, out of nowhere…BAM! Off to another stint on the disabled list. Let’s take a walk down memory Disabled List Boundlane shall we?

2008: 15-day DL: Right fingernail tear (blister); Games missed: 16

2010: 15-day DL: Left hamstring strain; Games missed: 18

2011: 60-day DL: Low back stress fracture; Games missed: 93

2012: 15-day DL: Esophagitis (apparently he doesn’t take his Pepcid AC); Games missed: 20

2013: 60-day DL: Right shoulder bursitis (neck strain); Games missed: 82

2014: 15-day DL: Left knee hyper-extension; Games missed: 28

2015: 15-day DL: Strained flexor muscle in his right elbow; Games missed: Remainder of the season

Cy Young Candidate…off to the disabled list.

It was only 3 years ago when in 2013, Potential Cy Young Award leader Buchholz was 9-0 on the season with a league leading 1.71 ERA. Amazing right? But, wait, spoiler alert! He ended up on the DL retroactive to June 9th.

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but if you have a pitcher who’s consistently injured on a what seems to be year round basis, why the hell is he still with this team? For starters, his contract. Buchholz had a $13 million dollar club option for 2016 that Dave Dombrowski chose to renew. For a pitcher (when healthy) who has shown the ability to not only win, but pitch effectively, the upside is worth the $13 million dollar contract.

Personally, I love Buchholz. I love him so much that for some odd reason I hold out hope that he will some day become the Ace of the Red Sox. I hold out hope that he will win the coveted Cy Young Award. Hell, I even hold out hope that he’ll throw another no-hitter like he did in 2007. But, then I come back down to reality and realize none of those things are never, ever, ever going to happen.

I’m sure many of those in Red Sox Nation would agree with me that the Clay Buchholz who we thought was going to be a superstar in Boston is long gone and that we are now left to watch a kid who had so much talent literally wilt away a few weeks into the season. Clay’s going to go out onto that mound every 5th day and compete, maybe throw 6,7 even 8 quality innings and get a few wins under his belt. But, Clay is also going to somehow end up with a pulled shoulder, a blister, or another bout of heartburn and end up on the good ol’ DL train. And this time around I don’t foresee that train ever coming back into Fenway Park station after the 2016 season.

So Clay, here’s to you! I hope nothing but the best for you this year, but I also hope this is the last year I have to see you in a Red Sox uniform.

Clay Buchholz Looking for Positive Start to 2015 Season

clay buccholz

Clay Buchholz has had some trouble with either staying healthy or being able to consistently pitch at a high level his entire MLB career with the Boston Red Sox, but the 2015 season might be the last straw for the upper management if he can’t pitch like the top of the rotation starter that he has shown glimpses of in the past.

Buchholz Recent Health

The 30-year-old battled through injuries and lack of fastball control in 2014 that ended withBuchholz a 5.34 ERA in 28 starts and an 8-11 record. The 1.39 ERA was his highest since 2008 while his 132 strikeouts were his career-high. He did show signs of being elite with two complete-game shutouts, but that was just an aberration to the awful season he produced.

In 2013, Buchholz pitched to the tune of a 12-1 record with a 1.74 ERA, but missed over half the season with a shoulder injury that was caused by holding his infant child the wrong way while they were napping. The injury derailed the rest of a great campaign as he was the front runner for the Cy Young in the American League at the time of his injury. When he came back in late September, his fastball lost some speed and the rest of his pitches lost the crispness they had earlier in the season.

Over the previous six seasons, Buchholz has modeled inconsistency with injuries and his ability to pitch effectively with no season with over 189 innings pitch or 30 starts. From a no-hitter to a 17-7 season in 2010 to injury after injury in recent memory, Buchholz has not been the veteran the Red Sox can rely on, but could that change?

The 2015 Buchholz

The one thing that Buchholz has going for him is that no one really expects too much from him this season. Sure, he will be started the first game of the season against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday and struck out nine batters against one of the worst lineups in MLB without allowing a run, but he is the veteran on the staff currently.

The right-hander has shown through the spring that he can still pitch at an effective level with a 2.84 ERA in five games started with a 22:4 K:B ratio. Sure, he posted similar numbers with the ERA in 2014 and spring stats are not really indicative of how the season could go for any player, but pitching as the lead guy in the rotation might be just the kick in the pants Buchholz needs to get off to a hot start.

Also, 2015 is technically a contract year for the 30-year-old as the Red Sox hold a $13 million option for the 2016 season along with a $13.5 million team option for 2017. Most players play well for that final contract and, if Buchholz can pitch to his abilities without worrying about being hurt or being ridiculed for not being mentally tough, then 2015 should be another season that he pitches well enough to be a frontline starter in this Red Sox rotation.

If everything goes well with Buchholz’ changeup and fastball, then maybe he can pitch well enough to earn another year or two with the Red Sox. However, if he struggles, then it might be time to actually add an “ace” who can get the job done in 2016.

What Is Wrong With Clay Buchholz?

Clay BuchholzThe oldest member of the Boston Red Sox rotation right now is only 29-years-old. That man is Clay Buchholz. 29 is an age where most players peak and put up the best numbers of their career. For Buchholz, this is not the case.
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In his worst year since he hit a tremendous sophomore slump, things could not get much worse for Buchholz than they are right now. In 18 starts he owns a 6.20 ERA over the course of 101 2/3 innings on the year, showing how consistent he has been with his poor pitching. In fact, if he qualified, Buchholz would have the worst ERA for a starter in all of baseball. He does not, but only due to a lack of innings pitched in his low-quality outings.

Right now, the Boston Red Sox are not in contention and took themselves out of contention entirely at the trade deadline last Thursday. At this point in a season that mattered for something, the front office would take action and do something about Clay Buchholz. Since it does not matter, and the team is not in a good spot, they sit and they wait.
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Meanwhile, the Red Sox have the best starting pitcher in AAA sitting down in the minors after giving the big league club a quality start — against the New York Yankees. Anthony Ranaudo owns a 2.41 ERA in 21 starts for the Pawtucket Red Sox and definitely warrants some starts in the Major Leagues, but there is no room for him right now despite the way Clay Buchholz is pitching.

The Buchholz situation is a tough one to play out, but maybe it would be best if Boston shut him down for the rest of this season. Clearly this is not a Red Sox team that is going to play in October and Buchholz’ problems are mental, not physical. Giving Buchholz some time to think and get back to his old approach would be a smart call by Boston so they can bank on him coming back strong for the 2015 season.
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