Clay Buchholz isn’t 100 percent. But apparently, his tank isn’t completely empty, either.
“He’s not finished,” manager John Farrell said before Game 5 on Monday.
Buchholz, who pitched four innings in Game 4, has already volunteered to pitch out of the bullpen in Game 6 or 7 at Fenway Park, according to Farrell. The news comes as a bit of surprise, as the presumption among most was that Buchholz threw his final pitch of the season Sunday.
“Even after the second inning, [Buchholz] came in and said, ‘I haven’t even tried to throw the ball hard yet,’ and he goes, ‘I don’t know that I’m going to.’ I said, ‘Well, based on what’s happened, you don’t need to. Just keep the ball down, like you’re doing,'” said Farrell on Monday. “The guy has got such a feel to manipulate the baseball that even if he’s lacking a weapon in power, he can make up for it with other ways. His cutter and his two seamer were very effective [in Game 4].”
Buchholz, whose fastball sat at around 88-89 mph, used good command to make it through four innings Sunday. The right-hander gave up just one unearned run on three hits and three walks. He struck out two and threw 66 pitches.
“Based on the way he came out of [Sunday] night, he said to me, ‘I’ll be in here getting ready for the next opportunity,'” Farrell told reporters in St. Louis on Monday. “By no means has he shut down anything, either mentally or physically.”
John Lackey already pitched out of the bullpen in Game 4. Maybe that moment fueled a fire inside Buchholz, who is seemingly feeling good physically.