Clay Buchholz?s mild-mannered approach doesn?t fit Curt Schilling?s definition of an ace. Different strokes for different folks.
Schilling expressed doubt Wednesday over whether Buchholz wants to be the Boston Red Sox?s ace, citing a lack of commitment mentally and physically. Buchholz was asked about the harsh criticism Thursday, and the right-hander offered a calm response in which he vowed to focus on this season.
?Baseball is one of those things that obviously you never want to go out and do bad,? Buchholz said, according to the Boston Herald. ?I?ve been on both sides of the spectrum as far as doing just about as good as you can in this game to being just about as bad as you could be.
?At some point in time, I think the ?08 season, I took all the bad and I was thinking about it so much that it was like, ?I have to do this, I can?t do bad.? Then I’d get out in the middle of a game and something would happen. I?d have all these thoughts in my head about, ?Well, I can?t let this happen, I can?t throw this pitch.?
?I basically started eliminating the weapons I have to succeed and figured out later that?s not the way to do it.?
Schilling?s biggest gripe with Buchholz — his teammate with the Red Sox in 2007 — seemingly is the pitcher?s laid-back demeanor. Buchholz often gives off the vibe that he doesn?t care when he struggles, which the 30-year-old stressed Thursday simply isn?t the case.
?What I’m trying to say is you can?t go out there pissed off about the start before just because you did bad,? Buchholz said, according to the Herald. ?Because all you?re going to do is probably press too much and come out of your delivery, make bad pitches and it?s going to start to snowball.
?So, I wouldn?t say that I?m a really pleasant person to be around after I have a bad start. So if that?s what he?s saying about the whole ‘dark side’ thing, I want to do as good as anybody whenever I?m out there. And when you?re facing the best guys in the world, it?s hard to go out there and make mistakes. And I was making a lot of mistakes last year.?
Buchholz?s career has been a roller-coaster ride. At times, he?s looked like a legitimate ace. Other times, he?s been awful. The two-time All-Star refuses to run from reality, though. He admitted Thursday his track record has been sporadic and that he?ll need to remain composed this season as Boston?s de facto ?ace,? regardless of any outside criticism.
“I was still young in 2008,? Buchholz said. ?But everybody can have their own opinion. That?s fine with me. He could always come to me and talk to me about that stuff rather than broadcast it, too.
“I have learned a lot since 2008. I know the differences between being ready and not being ready. Like right now, I feel really good right now. And nobody knows it. It could happen the completely opposite way than the way I have it mapped out in my head. But at least I know I?m ready to go into the season.
“I?ve got all my pitches that I had in 2013, in 2010 (when I succeeded), they?re working the same way. It?s just a matter of executing them. I get to do that on Monday.”
Buchholz already faced a lot of pressure by virtue of being named Boston?s Opening Day starter.
Schilling turned up the heat Wednesday. Buchholz stayed cool Thursday.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images