Clay Buchholz, the ace?
Since the start of the season, the Red Sox have tried to sell to the fans that they will have five average to good pitchers, led by Clay Buchholz. Through the first couple months of the season, the starting rotation was an absolute train wreck. No starter had an ERA below four and some had an ERA over five. At the very end of May, the Red Sox promoted top pitching prospect, Eduardo Rodriguez, who was dominant in his first few starts. He has since come back to earth and has an ERA of over three. The failures of the pitching staff are a huge reason why the team has spent most of the first half in last place and at times were more than seven games out of first place in the division. Since mid June, there has been one starter who has been masterful and put the rotation on his back, and that starter is Clay Buchholz.
In Buchholz’s last four starts, he has given up only three earned runs while pitching just over 30 innings. His recent stretch of dominance has given the team a boost as they have played much better the last few weeks. Although the team is still six games out of first place, Buchholz has performed as the ace the team has needed. Before Buchholz’s four week surge, his ERA was over four and as of today that ERA has gone down by over a run.
Buchholz got the ball on opening day and delivered an excellent outing when he shut down the Philadelphia Phillies. That outing, coupled with the offensive explosion, gave the team confidence that their starting rotation would be fine being led by Buchholz. For the next two months, Buchholz struggled with consistency and found himself right in the middle of the issues of the team. If Buchholz can continue to pitch the way he has been, the team should continue to get closer in the standings.
As July 31st approaches, the team hopes to get back in the race to become buyers when the trade deadline rolls around. If they can get within striking distance in the division, the team would be wise to acquire another veteran starter to help Buchholz at the top of the rotation. The one issue with Buchholz has always been his struggle to stay healthy, so by acquiring another top of the rotation starter the team will have insurance in case Buchholz goes down again. If Buchholz can stay upright and pitch the way he is capable, there is no doubt that he can perform at an elite level for the final three months of the regular season.
Colby Gatz follows the Red Sox for MFST, and you can follow him on twitter @bostonfan_15.