EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

April 13, 2013

The Right Stuff

Developing cutter, two-seem fastball has made Buchholz a star

BOSTON — Baltimore Orioles left fielder Nate McLouth has learned that studying film of Clay Buchholz doesn’t help much.

“There’s not really a pattern you pick up,” McLouth said. “Against him, if you try to do too much you’re going to be in trouble because he’s got multiple pitches he can put you away with.”

Buchholz undoubtedly has the nastiest array of pitches of any Boston starter, including Jon Lester. It’s interesting to look back and examine how much the right-hander has changed since the Red Sox drafted him in 2005 and even since he threw his no-hitter Sept. 1, 2007 in his second career major league start.

Buchholz, who is scheduled to pitch tomorrow, has been excellent in both his starts, allowing just one earned in 14.0 innings (0.64 ERA) and striking out 12 with a 1.07 WHIP.

He has ace ability. But he must remain healthy to reach ace status. He’s been on the disabled list each of the last three Junes and has never started 30 games.

“I think he’s got the kind of stuff where he doesn’t have to be perfect,” McLouth said. “He can get away with some mistakes because especially with his fastball, he has the velocity that if he makes a mistake, it’s not as easy to hit his mistake as a guy throwing 89 (mph). He did throw a lot of fastballs (Monday) but I think he moved it around well. Certainly with the array of pitches he’s got and the ability to change locations and to change speeds, he’s good.”

Buchholz didn’t feel perfect during the 7.0 scoreless innings he pitched against the Orioles Monday. But now he can get away with not having his best stuff.

“In the minor leagues, I was more of a power guy, four-seam, 12/6 curveball and a change-up,” Buchholz told The Eagle-Tribune.

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