What's wrong with Clay Buchholz?
Many Red Sox fans have been wondering aloud what happened to this promising young starter. Just 11 months ago, on Sept. 1, 2007, Buchholz tossed the 17th no-hitter in Boston Red Sox history in his second major league start.
He looked masterful while baffling every Baltimore Orioles hitter he faced. Every fan in Boston dubbed him the next ace of the Red Sox staff.
Fast forward to today and Buchholz is baffling Red Sox fans instead of major league hitters.
How could a young stud go from being unhittable to being very hittable? Buchholz is 2-7 this year with a 5.94 ERA. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 1.91:1, just under the 2:1 ratio that is expected of subpar pitchers. His WHIP is an ugly 1.68. These are not the numbers of a future ace.
It doesn't look like Buchholz has lost anything off any of his pitches, so the question is: Did the no-hitter affect Buchholz's psyche? It is very possible that Buchholz's masterful performance may have gone to his head.
He may have gotten too comfortable with his stuff on that historic night. However, I doubt this no-hit hangover would last almost a full year.
Analyzing his terrible strikeout-to-walk ratio may give some insight as to why he is struggling. Buchholz has pitched 69-and-two-third innings this year, so his 67 strikeouts is a promising number. However, his 35 walks may suggest that Buchholz is trying to be too fine with the strike zone.
Buchholz has electric stuff. Pitchers with electric stuff need to go right at hitters; they need to attack the strike zone.
Clay Buchholz is not Greg Maddux. Buchholz can blow his fastball by hitters. So why is he constantly nibbling at the strike zone?
The only one who may be able to answer that question is Clay Buchholz. John Farrell, Boston's pitching coach, needs to take up this issue with Buchholz. If Buchholz has no answer, he may need to be sent down to AAA Pawtucket to re-learn to attack the strike zone.