Red Sox Pitching Staff Continues Struggling in Small Sample Size of Games Since Coaching Change

Red Sox Pitching Staff Continues Struggling in Small Sample Size of Games Since Coaching ChangeBOSTON — Two days after the Red Sox fired pitching coach
Bob McClure, the pitching results haven’t changed.

After nearly three spotless months on the mound, Clay
Buchholz
experienced one of his worst outings of the season in Wednesday’s 7-3
loss to the Angels, surrendering seven runs through 5 1/3 innings.

“The
ball was up in the zone,” Buchholz said. “You can’t throw pitches
consistently up there and expect to get away with it with a team like that. On
the other side of it, I felt like I made a lot of good pitches that they got
their bat to and found a hole for it. I felt really good –– just too many
pitches up. They made me pay for it.”

It marked
the second straight subpar start for the Red Sox, considering Aaron Cook
surrendered five runs –– four unearned –– and a season-high 11 hits in
Tuesday’s series-opening defeat to the Angels.

The Red Sox
certainly have six more weeks to steady the pitching ship, so there’s certainly room for
improvement. That said, the first two games haven’t offered the optimism and
spark the team hoped when it relieved McClure of his duties during Monday’s off
day.

Despite the
switch in voices –– the fourth in the past three years –– Buchholz shouldered
the blame for this loss. From his vantage point, a pitching coach’s direction
doesn’t have a noticeable impact.

“They’re
more there for guidance,” Buchholz said. “If they see you doing
something wrong over an extended period of the time, they’re the guys who give
you a little bit of notice and some direction on what you need to do.
Consistency is the key, especially with pitching.

“You’ve
got to be able to repeat deliveries and arm slot and everything. That comes
with feel. That comes with confidence. They’ve all been good. They’ve all been
around baseball a long time. I don’t see it being a problem for anybody.”

Before the start, Buchholz boasted a 2.16 ERA in his last 11
starts and had solidified his place as Boston’s ace this season. During that
stretch, the Red Sox stitched together a 9-2 record. To put Buchholz’s current hiccup into perspective, the right-hander
had allowed just eight earned runs over his previous six starts.

“I
thought that Clay had pretty good stuff,” Red Sox manager Bobby VSendalentine
said. “Just, they hit some good pitches and he was in the middle of the
plate with a couple of pitches and maybe a little higher than he’s been
normally. So it was all about location, and probably he was missing his location.”

It’s
a small sample, but so far, the minor pitching blemishes are adding up.

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