Clay Buchholz Surrenders Five Runs, Focuses on More Important Numbers

Clay Buchholz Surrenders Five Runs, Focuses on More Important NumbersSARASOTA, Fla. –– Twenty-one innings wasn't sufficient for Clay Buchholz last spring training. The right-hander didn't feel as prepared as possible heading into the 2011 regular season.

So that's why he waved off the Red Sox coaching staff in between innings of Friday's 6-5 loss. After the fourth frame, manager Bobby Valentine and pitching coach Bob McClure offered to yank Buchholz out.

But he wanted more and ventured off onto the mound. Although he surrendered five runs in the outing, Buchholz shifted his focus to more important numbers –– five innings, 86 pitches.

"I know that I need to get my pitch count up because I wasn't ready for my first couple starts last year," Buchholz said. "It made me want to go back out there for that fifth inning. I'd rather go out there and get three outs in a row rather than have an inning like the previous one, be done with it and have that to think about for the next four days."

It's part of the process for the pitcher to resurrect his form. After Friday's performance, Buchholz has logged a total of 15 innings for the spring and is primed to make at least two more starts.

That urgency is exactly the type of attitude that Valentine is looking for from Buchholz, who also confirmed he would likely start the third game of the opening series against the Tigers.

"He wanted to throw another and I think that was perfect," Valentine said. "If those balls were caught, it's another inning for the same number of pitches. That's where you, basically, want to be — 85 after 6. It's a good effort, a good outing."

His only big miscue occurred in the third. When Buchholz tossed a pitch to Nick Markakis, the ball appeared like a fly ball –– even Markakis threw his bat down in disappointed fashion. But it wound up soaring over the left field wall for a round-tripper.

In the grand scheme of things, that result was minimal to the right-hander. He just doesn't want a repeat of the 2011 season.

"I don't think I threw enough innings in spring training," Buchholz said, reflecting. "My pitch counts were up there, but pitch counts don't normally mean anything because it's how many times you get up and down off the bench after long innings and going back out there, throwing 20 pitches and sitting down for five minutes and going back out."

Have a question for Didier Morais? Send it to him via Twitter at @DidierMorais or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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