Buchholz, Valentine happy with five-inning outing

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Buchholz, Valentine happy with five-inning outing

SARASOTA, Fla. Making his fourth Grapefruit League start, right-hander Clay Buchholz went five innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts. He gave up two two-run home runs, one to Adam Jones in the first and another to Nick Markakis in the third.

Although he was scheduled to pitch six innings, and left with the Sox tralining by three runs in the eventual 6-5 loss, Buchholz was satisfied with his outing.

Overall, I pitched pretty well, said Buchholz, who threw 86 pitches, 56 for strikes. That pitch that Jones hit was up. Thats what he does. And a couple of fly balls with the wind got to them and they were to a spot where there wasnt anybody there.

Manager Bobby Valentine was also satisfied.

Hes working with his curveball lately. He threw a lot of curveballs and some of them were good and some just got up in the wind, Valentine said. But he worked on everything he wanted to work on. He wanted to throw up to 90 pitches. He probably needed to go one inning more to do it. But he threw, what hed throw 85, 86 pitches. It was good work. His stuff was good.

Buchholz had a long wait in the second inning, when the Sox sent eight batters to the plate, scoring twice, and driving Orioles starter Jason Hammel from the game after 59 pitches in in two innings. The wait, though, did not affect him.

No, it was pretty hot out there but its going to be hot everywhere come July and August, he said. So its something that you got to work with and work against. Its just one of those things. But you cant use that as an excuse.

He had the option of coming out after the fourth inning, but opted for another one more.

Had a couple long innings today, a couple of long at-bats, he said. They were fouling some good pitches off and working the count. You always try and go out there and be efficient . . . It doesnt always go that way. Thats what everybodys goal is.

Said one scout in attendance of Buchholzs outing:

His stuff was fine. He was very deliberate, which I think hurts him. Hes better when he works faster. Had a very good changeup, but not many cutters and curveballs for strikes. His fastball velocity was down a little today.

Buchholz is satisfied with how his spring is going overall.

Its going good, he said. They asked me after the fourth inning, said, Hey, well just get some good work for today. I know that I need to get my pitch count up because I wasnt ready for my first couple starts last year. So I still wanted to go out there for that fifth inning. So Id rather go out there and get three outs in a row than have an inning like the previous one and be done with it and have that to think about the next four days. But overall this is about getting your work in. You always want to see the results you want happen but it just doesnt happen all the time. But I felt good, felt like Im still moving in the right direction. Go from there.

It was lack of enough innings last spring that hampered at the beginning of the season, he believes.

Just, I dont think I threw enough innings in spring training, he said. My pitch counts were up there. But pitch counts dont really mean anything because its how many times you get up and down off the bench after long innings, going back out and pitch and throwing 20 pitches, sit down for five minutes, going back out. 3 23 and throwing 80 pitches doesnt really work with getting your legs underneath you. And thats I think the innings numbers are more important than actual pitches.

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

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Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic. 

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs hold off Raiders 21-13 to take control of AFC West

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THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs hold off Raiders 21-13 to take control of AFC West

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tyreek Hill had touchdowns receiving and on a punt return, Kansas City's defense made life miserable for Oakland quarterback Derek Carr, and the Chiefs beat the Raiders 21-13 on a frigid Thursday night to take control of the AFC West.

Charcandrick West also had a touchdown run for the Chiefs (10-3). They moved into a first-place tie with Oakland (10-3) but holds the tiebreaker with two wins over their longtime divisional rival.

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