“When you strike out people, that’s sort of the repertoire I think that everybody looks at. Right when I got up here, I still struck out a few people, but as time moved on, the strikeouts weren’t coming and that’s what sort of got me in trouble. And when I got sent down and all that stuff, I had to find a way to make myself better.”
Buchholz struggled after the no-hitter, posting a 6.75 ERA in 16 games in 2008. His confidence took a hit. He had to become mentally tougher and change his repertoire some.
He started throwing a cutter in games in 2011.
He has thrown it 21.3 percent of the time at an average of 86.8 mph in his two starts this year, according to fangraphs.com.
“And I predominantly throw two-seam fastballs now instead of four-seams,” Buchholz said.
“Basically, I just started relying more on movement than overpowering and trying to get a ball past a guy. If I’m behind in the count 2-0, throw something that’s moving in the zone and let them take a whack at it and hopefully, they hit it at somebody.”
Lester was the first person Buchholz asked for advice about the cutter.
“Obviously, it’s different in the simple fact that he’s left-handed and I’m right-handed, but he sort of mastered that pitch in being able to throw it to both sides of the plate,” Buchholz said.
“It’s a pitch that looks like a fastball, still has velocity and has that little late life to it. For him moving into righties and for me, moving away from them.
“It’s a pitch that I can throw 3-1 (count) if I know a guy’s swinging, or I can throw it 3-0 if I think a guy’s going to swing,” Buchholz added.