Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said after Sunday's 9-6, 17-inning loss that he was concerned about the performance of starter Clay Buchholz but that he has no immediate plans for a role change for the right-hander.
"Clay’s performance was not what he wanted it to be for sure and not what I wanted it to be. He left a lot of pitches in a real hittable zone and gave up a lot of hard-hit balls," Valentine said. "There were a lot of pitchers used today. He was one of them and I’ve got to figure out what to do, and how to get by with all these guys who really did a yeomen’s job today. I have no plans to change him at this time."
Buchholz has allowed five or more earned runs in all six of his starts this year, the longest such streak by a Red Sox starter since Red Ruffing endured an eight-game stretch in 1925.
For his part, Buchholz said that he is healthy and dismissed the idea that a blister issue he's dealing with could have had any impact on his outing. That, in turn, has made this run a challenging exercise for the 27-year-old.
"I feel good. If I knew the reason I was giving up hits and runs, I'd probably fix it. I have to figure it out," Buchholz said. "It's a pretty frustrating deal right now."
Buchholz did not factor into the decision, but his 9.09 ERA is the worst in the majors among pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title, and his 2.02 WHIP is likewise the worst in the majors. He allowed three homers on Sunday to increase his yield to 10 (in 32 2/3 innings) this year, exceeding the number of homers he gave up in all of 2010, when he logged 172 2/3 innings.
Buchholz does have an option left, so he could be sent by the team to the minors. However, because he is more than three years removed from his big league debut, Buchholz would have to pass through optional waivers to be sent to the minors. That said, optional waivers are treated by all major league clubs as a mere procedural formality, and there are few if any examples of players being taken off of that particular form of waivers.
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