BOSTON - Regardless of how good Clay Buchholz felt and how effective he was in five of the six innings he pitched, the only one that's going to stick with him - and everybody else - is the five-run fifth inning.
That's when things fell apart for the Sox pitcher who has essentially fallen apart mentally this season after physically falling apart last season.
Buchholz retired nine of this first ten batters of the game before allowing a run in the fourth inning with the Sox up 3-0. But Buchholz ran into big trouble in a fifth inning that saw nine Angels bat, and five score.
"Combination of some walks and base hits," Farrell said of the fifth inning. "Through the first four [innings] I thought he was sharp, he gave good late action on his stuff. In the fifth when he got ahead of a couple of hitter he didn't have the same finishing pitch that he had shown in the previous four and they were able to put some people on. We had a miscommunication on a ball in short right field that contributes to that. So they found some holes, they bunched some hits and some walks for the five runs.
The miscommunication Farrell is talking about came with the bases loaded and Mike Trout at the plate. Trout hit a high shallow fly ball to right field that was certainly playable by Daniel Nava. But with Nava coming on, and Pedroia heading back, Nava appeared to give way or lose the ball in the air, as it fell a few feet in front of him as he slowed up.
That allowed the run to score from third base to even the game at 3-3.
"I felt good with just about every pitch," Buchholz said. "It was just they load the bases with nobody out, they have Trout up, get him to miss at one and it didn't go our way, and sort of snowballed after that."
David Ross, who returned to the lineup on Wednesday, thought Buchholz pitched well for most of the game, and had a fastball that was working for him. But once runners got on-base things changed.
"I think out of the stretch he got a little rushed and couldn't find the strike zone and then when he did they got some hits," Ross said.
As he has been for the majority of the season, Buchholz was disappointed after the game. Since his complete-game shutout of the Astros before the All-Star Break, Buchholz has given up four-plus runs in five of his seven starts. Three of those starts have been six-plus runs. Buchholz's ERA over his last six starts is 7.05, and the team hasn't won a game he's pitched in since July 18, over a month now.
He admits that it's frustrating not seeing results when he feels fine physically on the mound.
"The difference between everything that's going on this year and last year is a lot of the balls that are finding holes or home runs or doubles, they were hit at somebody last year," he said. "I got a lot of double plays that way. Sometimes that's the way it goes. You don't want it to be a full season but that's the way it is sometimes. You got to keep grinding."
It's been a grind-it-out kind of season for the Red Sox with little to show for, and Buchholz is Exhibit A.