Red Sox Starter Clay Buchholz Shows Improvement Vs. Orioles Despite Loss

by abournenesn

Apr 18, 2015

BOSTON — Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz began Saturday afternoon’s start against the Baltimore Orioles in fine fashion.

He gave up just two hits, zero runs, no walks and struck out four through the first three innings.

The Orioles opened the scoring in the fourth inning with two runs on five hits, and an Everth Cabrera single then loaded the bases for Baltimore with one out. With the Orioles threatening, Buchholz struck out Alejandro De Aza and Steve Pearce to end the inning and prevent any further damage.

Buchholz threw 34 pitches over the first three innings, but the Orioles rose his count to 65 by the end of the fourth.

The fifth inning also wasn’t easy for Buchholz. Two hits and a misplayed ball by Hanley Ramirez at the base of the Green Monster loaded the bases with zero outs with Orioles third baseman Manny Machado coming up to bat. To his credit, Buchholz got out of another jam with the help of a well-executed 3-2-3 double play and a strikeout of Ryan Flaherty.

“I thought he made a number of big pitches in the fourth and fifth innings,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “High number of hits allowed, but a number of those ground balls found their way through the infield for base hits. He was able to minimize the damage, throw a lot of strikes, give our defense a chance to work today.

“I think he pitched exceptionally well in those two innings, the fourth and fifth, probably more than half of his pitches thrown in those two innings. Kept us in the ball game and certainly gave us a chance to come away with a win.”

Buchholz had pretty good stuff throughout the day. His curveball and changeup were effective, and his fastball had good velocity. His cutter was fantastic, too. Without all of that, it’s unlikely he would have given up just two runs after allowing 12 baserunners.

“Best cutter I’ve had all year,” Buchholz said. “I tweaked a couple of things here and there with it over the last two or three days. It had a lot more depth today … It was moving regardless of how high or low it was, so that’s really the cutter I had in 2010 and 2013.”

Buchholz finished with 102 pitches (69 strikes) in six innings of work in Boston’s 4-1 loss. He walked one, struck out seven and gave up 11 hits, one fewer than his first and second starts combined. However, it was an improvement from his last start Sunday against the New York Yankees when he gave up nine earned runs and nine hits in 3 and 1/3 innings.

Consistency is one thing the Red Sox need from Buchholz this season, and two quality starts in three outings isn’t bad at all. He pitched well enough to win Saturday, but the Boston lineup produced only one run on seven hits.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images

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