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Clay Buchholz and the Red Sox insist he’s healthy despite ERA rising from 1.74 to 6.20

Aug 7, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

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Clay Buchholz has been so bad this season, going 5-7 with a 6.20 ERA after going 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA last year, that the 29-year-old right-hander and Red Sox manager John Farrell are both being asked if he’s healthy or pitching through an injury.

Buchholz previously insisted that he’s healthy and here’s what Farrell told Ian Browne of MLB.com yesterday:

There’s nothing physical here. And by his own admission and [his] answers to that question repetitively, and every test that we do following a start, leading into a start, all those objective measures are fine.

If he’s not hurt, then what explains Buchholz’s terrible performance, especially on the heels on last season’s excellence?

Last season Buchholz allowed 75 hits and 23 runs in 108 innings.

This season Buchholz has allowed 126 hits and 75 runs in 102 innings.

Well, first of all last season’s dominance was a fluke, if only in that most pitchers posting a 1.74 ERA is at least somewhat a fluke and his secondary numbers were nowhere near that strong. And based on those same secondary numbers–strikeouts, walks, ground-ball rate–Buchholz has pitched more like a 4.50 ERA guy than a 6.20 ERA guy this year.

His career Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP) is 4.13 and his xFIP this year is 4.43. If you trust those numbers then last season was a massive fluke and this season is merely a mediocre, 4.50 ERA-caliber pitcher who’s also been terribly unlucky on balls in play.

  1. timberwolvesbrisin - Aug 7, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    “If he’s not hurt, then what explains Buchholz’s terrible performance, especially on the heels on last season’s excellence?”

    He’s a human being, isnt it refreshing to see a team/player not blame injuries for poor performance?

  2. edelmanfanclub - Aug 7, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    It’s all mental. He’s been inconsistent for his whole career. When he’s good he’s amazing (10,13), when he’s bad hes really bad (08,14) .

    His whole career has been full of injuries, it’s odd to see him hold up for an entire season. I hope he turns it around because he has a great arm.

    • 18thstreet - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:02 PM

      Why does everything think, with Buchholz, that his problems are mental? I hear this all the time, and I don’t understand it. I’m sure there have been other athletes that are treated this way, but it’s relentless with Buchholz. It’s as if poor performance is a mark of poor character. I don’t get it.

  3. timbo1986 - Aug 7, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    He hair seems a bit less greasy the year…hhmmm..

    • carpi2 - Aug 8, 2014 at 8:12 AM

      Ha! I love the snarky insinuation. I additionally love how people have no sense of humor and give you thumbs down!

  4. olaffek - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    How long do they ask these questions? Maybe he doesn’t want play in Boston. Maybe he’ll never be solid.

  5. chip56 - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    Healthy? Yes.

    Talented? Not so much.

  6. randygnyc - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    Tony Bosch

  7. jbriggs81 - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    Buchholz didn’t pitch the entire months of July or August last season because of a neck injury. When he came off the DL he pitched very well in September likely because he was fresh. I would assume that if he pitched those two months, his ERA would likely be higher. I would also assume that when he returned in September, he likely wouldn’t have been as dominant because he would have made something like 12 more starts during that period.

  8. bobwsc - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    he’ll be with the Cubs nex season

  9. miguelcairo - Aug 7, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    Why DOES he have greasy-a$$ hair all the time?

    • yahmule - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:29 PM

      You might ask Lou Pinella the same thing. I’ll bet he would just totally come unglued, too. I dare you to do it.

  10. irishlad19 - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:38 PM

    Mental issues aren’t poor character; anxiety, depression, etc. are as real as torn muscles, etc.
    He seems emotionally fragile; when he’s up he’s lights out, and when he’s down he’s useless.
    May be time to move on.

  11. theskinsman - Aug 8, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    Maybe the fact that tiny changes in grip, arm slot,velocity and spin make a huge difference in a pitch being filthy and almost unhittable, or a hanging beachball to be belted all over the field should be considered. If those were consistent, his results would be. I think he has issues with consistency, as he’s great one inning, getting lit up the next.
    If anyone can get him back, it’s Farrell. But sometimes guys just lose that ability(Bard) for whatever reason, and fade away.

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