While Red Sox fans mostly have to concern themselves with the team finding some consistency and building winning streaks, it's worth wondering if 25-year-old Clay Buchholz is emerging onto the All-Star scene.
In nine starts this season, he's really only had one stinker (when he gave up five earned runs on nine hits and five walks against the Yankees in early May), and he's been showing command of his entire arsenal for much of the season. His most recent outing was a beautiful example.
As ESPN.com's Buster Olney noted, Buchholz reached a 2-0 count just once in his six innings of work against the Rays, and he retired all six leadoff men to help keep the powerful Rays offense at bay.
As it stands now, Buchholz ranks 15th in the AL among starters with his 3.03 ERA, yet among starters with eight or more starts, he's ranked 11th. His six wins have him tied for second in the league, and while wins aren't usually the best measuring stick with pitchers, a healthy total has helped two Red Sox pitchers in recent years make All-Star teams (Tim Wakefield last year, when he had a 10-3 record and a 4.30 ERA, and Matt Clement in 2005, when he was 10-2 with a 3.85 ERA). Obviously, getting into the double digits in the wins column goes a long way when a manager's setting his staff.
So consider that the Red Sox have 38 games to play before the All-Star break. That should give Buchholz ample time to pick some W's, and if he comes close to maintaining his current pace (3-0, 1.77 ERA, 1.03 WHIP with 18 strikeouts in last three starts), he could add his first benchmark accomplishment to his resume.
Well, aside from that no-hitter in 2007.
So what do you think? Will Buchholz lace up his spikes for Joe Girardi's AL team this summer?
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