Valentine on Buchholz: 'We need him'

749920.jpg

Valentine on Buchholz: 'We need him'

BOSTON -- A couple weeks ago, Clay Buchholz said that he felt like the only pitcher in major League Baseball who was complaining about getting wins.

Kind of, sort of true.

Surprisingly, Buchholz and his 9.09 ERA has the most wins on the Red Sox, with three, entering his seventh start of the season on Friday night, against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park.

In his previous six starts, Buchholz has yet to allow less than five runs. Needless to say, his 3-1 record is mostly a product of tremendous run support.

But make no mistake about it, Buchholz is a key component to Boston's success in 2012. If not for the sake of what he brings to the rotation every fifth start, then for the sake of saving the bullpen from any more six-inning appearances.

"I think our starters have to get it together," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine before Friday's game. "They're capable. They have quality. And maybe a couple hard-hit balls will get caught tonight, and we'll get on a role."

Buchholz obviously hopes he can limit the number of balls that are hit hard, and avoid that one big inning that opposing teams seem to have on him every time he steps on the mound.

"Well I think he has to take the responsibility, that, we're in a situation where we need him, and perform the way he's capable of performing," said Valentine on Friday.

"I never give up on a player until he gives up on himself, and I haven't seen that happen with Clay," added the Red Sox manager. "He's still working hard. He and Bob McClure are trying to solve this puzzle. I'm confident that the trust that I have in my coaches is going to pay off, because they're going to solve the puzzle. But is it difficult? Yes."

As for the rest of the rotation, Valentine says the solution is simple.

"Pitch better," he said. "I'm not going to start the bullpen and then have the starters end the game, or any of that stuff. The guys that we had designated as our starters, have to just go out and pitch better. I don't know any other way to express that."

Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz in 'attack mode'

merlonibuchholz421_1280x720_679640131594.jpg

Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz in 'attack mode'

CHICAGO -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 5-2 win over the White Sox:

 

QUOTES

"I think the most encouraging thing was after a couple of hard-hit balls early on, he was still in attack mode.'' - John Farrell on Clay Buchholz.

"The biggest thing centers around his fastball. First inning, he might have been up a little bit. But after that, he was down in the zone and the curveball was a good compliment to that.'' - Farrell.

"Man, I tell you what -- he does it in such big moments.'' - Farrell on David Ortiz.

"If you could paint a picture, I think tonight would be just about what everybody would want to do.'' - Buchholz on his outing.

"I think everybody would be lying if they said they didn't see your numbers; you see them every day. (Being) 0-3 with a six-something (ERA) is obviously not where you want to be.'' - Buchholz.

"Hopefully, this is the start of something good coming out of him.'' - Ortiz on Buchholz.

"You feel like the luckiest man on planet earth - finally hitting the ball where no one's at!'' - Ortiz on beating the shift with a single through the shortstop hole in the seventh

 

NOTES

* When the Red Sox homer, they're 11-6.

* Clay Buchholz's win was his first since last July 10.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

* Mookie Betts has scored at least one run in 10 of his last 14 games.

* David Ortiz is now one homer from tying Carl Yastrzemski for second-most homers in franchise history at 452.

* Ortiz tied Gary Sheffield for 25th place all-time in homers with 509.

 

STARS

1) Clay Buchholz

After five straight poor outings, Buchholz turned in a gem, giving up two runs in the first, then nothing else for the next six innings.

2) David Ortiz

As he so often does, Ortiz delivered when the Red Sox needed him most, clocking a two-run homer in the fifth to turn a one-run deficit into a two-run lead.

3) Jose Abreu

The White Sox slugger belted a two-run homer in the first to give him five RBI in the two games in this series.