Clay Buchholz was a Cy Young favorite until a shoulder injury derailed his season last June. This year, the 29-year-old has lacked velocity, mechanics and command in almost every start and does not even closely resemble the pitcher the Red Sox had in early 2013.
In 10 starts so far in 2014, Buchholz has a 7.02 ERA with a 2-4 record. He has not recorded a victory over his last four outings, and his next start might be in jeopardy.
In Monday’s contest, he walked a career-high wight guys while only lasting three-plus innings of work. Sure, the brunt of the six runs he allowed happened after he had a single against the Atlanta Braves, but running 90 feet should not affect your pitching that much.
After the contest, John Farrell told the media that the right-hander lost seven pounds, but the manager was more worried about Buchholz’s left knee. The Red Sox staff said that the pitcher hyper-extended the knee while running the bases on Memorial Day.
The temperature was in the mid-80s on Monday and yes, the Red Sox have not really been playing in any heat, but that is no excuse for a pitcher of Buchholz’s caliber.
After being so successful in 2013, what happened to the 29-year-old that made him brilliant nearly all season long last year? Is his shoulder still not completely healed? Is he not willing to give each pitch his all? Or is the right-handed starter just not mechanically sound and should get some time in the minors to work everything out?
Only time will tell if the veteran starter will return to form or if he will just be the fragile-minded pitcher that has never truly lived up to his potential.