Clay Buchholz continues ‘very similar’ run of 2013 in Red Sox’ win over Astros
Friday night Justin Masterson said Clay Buchholz would go forever in Saturday’s start, and while he likely didn’t mean he literally would go forever, Buchholz went as long as possible as the right-hander tossed a one-run, complete game to lead the Red Sox to a 6-1 win over the Astros on the Fourth of July at Fenway Park.
Buchholz went all nine innings, allowing one run, which came in the ninth, on six hits while not issuing a walk and striking out eight. He threw 110 pitches, 80 for strikes.
“It’s definitely good especially after a game like last night,” Buchholz said. “Taxed bullpen. Yeah, so first thing in my coming out here today was to get as deep in the game as I could. Complete games don’t always happen. There’s a lot of things that have to go right for things like that to happen, but I could throw just about any pitch I wanted to today. It doesn’t happen like that very often but I was able to locate curveballs and throw changeups in the dirt whenever I needed some swings and misses and threw some cutters off of some heaters.”
Saturday’s performance was just a continuation of the run he’s been on of late. Over his last 10 starts dating back to May 15, he has an ERA of 1.99 and is 5-2. Most recently, he’s gone seven-plus innings and allowed one earned run or less over his last four starts, going a perfect 4-0 with an 0.87 ERA in that span.
While it may not be exactly like his pre-injury stretch of 2013 where he went 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA over his first 12 starts of the year, it’s pretty close.
“Very similar,” Farrell said. “Anytime you’re talking about a guy who is going to go seven or eight innings pretty much each time out with low runs allowed, it’s a very similar run.”
Buchholz was in control from the start, allowing just one hit over the first 16 batters of the game and retired 12 straight hitters between the second and fifth innings. The one run the Astros did score came in the ninth when Luis Valbuena drove in Jose Altuve, who extended his 12-game hit streak earlier in the frame.
The Astros came in to the game riding a five-game win streak and had recorded at least 11 hits and scored at least five runs in their last four games against the Red Sox.
“All of his pitches, there’s nothing straight,” Astros catcher Hank Conger said of Buchholz. “Everything is going away or coming into you. So, you can’t really guess. You have to see it out of the hand. He did an outstanding job today. We’ve been playing good baseball, for him to go out there and throw the way he did right there, hats off.”
Buchholz has now won five straight starts, his longest since his 11-0 mark to open the 2013 season. It’s the longest streak by a Red Sox starter this season and by now there’s no question as to who the Red Sox’ ace of the staff is.
“He’s been on a run the last 10 starts where he’s been in control,” Farrell said. “That was the case again today for the full nine inning of work. A number of pitches with men on base that he was able to execute. He’s in such a good place mentally where he’s completing his delivery, commanding four pitches for strikes. In control today.”