Buchholz: Collapse 'most unbelievable thing' he's seen

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Buchholz: Collapse 'most unbelievable thing' he's seen

Count Clay Buchholz among those Red Sox who have apologized for drinking in the clubhouse but think the story is being blown out of proportion.

Buchholz joined the Mut and Merloni program on WEEI Thursday to discuss his team's September collapse, as well as the not-so-complimentary reports now surfacing about him and his teammates.

"Yeah, it did happen," said Buchholz about the drinking in the clubhouse. "It wasn't to the extent that it's being told right now. The whole chicken thing, it wasn't like the guys were sitting in there saying 'We're going to order chicken today.' It was, we'd come upstairs, there would be chicken on the table and it happened maybe three times this season. The whole beer thing, it was more of a rally-beer thing.

"And yeah, it might not have been right, but I feel like there have been other teams in baseball that have gone through stuff like that. Not to say it wasn't a big deal, because it was a mistake, grown men shouldn't be making those decisions like that during a baseball game, but like I said before, you've got to live with what you've done and learn from it. I'm sure it's not going to happen again because it's a lot bigger right now than everybody ever thought it would be."

When asked if he had ever seen beer in the dugout, Buchholz responded, "No. Never. Never."

Buchholz called the team's collapse "the most unbelievable thing I've ever seen." In fact, he's still not quite sure how it happened. He said the entire team expected to just show up and win every night.

"I just think the big problem this year was everybody on the team knew how good we were on paper, the best in baseball in the last 10 years or whatever," Buchholz said. "Even me, in September I'd say 'My God, how are we losing these games?' We expected to go out on the field and win. It wasn't happening and no one knew what to do."

"Shock" was the word Buchholz used to describe how it felt to see Terry Francona go, and he hopes there aren't too many changes to the team's pitching staff next season. He praised Josh Beckett, a player he looks up to, as being the team's best pitcher.

"If anything, I think Josh Beckett was different in a good way this year," Buchholz said. "He's one of the guys that I've always looked up to regardless of the situation was, he's got that killer mentality of going out and winning a game . . . He's one of the hardest workers. I mean, I'm not saying this because he's my teammate and I'm trying to cover anybody's butt, but he was in the clubhouse everyday early, got his work done, ran and did all his stuff. He was the best pitcher on our team this year. I didn't see anything different from Beckett."

But what about Beckett's visible weight-gain, Clay?

"Gaining weight is gaining weight," Buchholz said. "You still have to go out there and perform. That's just the way it is. If this game were easy, there would be more than 750 guys out there doing it. He still went out there and did his job, gave us a chance to win a game every time he went out there. That's all you can ask for from a starting pitcher."

Buchholz also said he thinks John Lackey can turn things around after his poor season.

"I hope he's back," Buchholz said. "I think he's gonna turn it around. I think he was pitching with a lot of stuff. He was hurting a bit, there was some stuff internally with him and everybody else."

The pitching staff's demise was seen by many as the team's reason for falling apart, but now, even though pitching coach Curt Young is rumored to be headed back to Oakland, Buchholz wouldn't throw Young under the bus. He did intimate that it was a much different environment with Young around compared to when John Farrell was in Boston as the pitching coach.

"It was a different personality," Buchholz said of Young. "Curt's a really laid back guy. I have nothing bad to say about Curt. He talked to me about whatever I needed to talk about. Curt is laid back. John, with John it was, I don't wanna talk to him unless I have to because I'm scared of him.

"John was more of an intense guy, a straight shooter," Buchholz added. "I dont think anybody took advantage of Young. They were two different coaches. Hard to compare guys that are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum . . . Everyone knew what their job was as starters. no one was gonna go out there and say 'Wow, I'm not gonna win this game.' Everybody knows what their job is, one person coming in isn't going to make you change how you're doing your job."

Despite the reports and despite the perceived disconnect in the Red Sox clubhouse, Buchholz thinks the Red Sox will be fine when they return for spring training in 2012.

"On paper this team is really good," he said. "We just gotta get our priorities right and move forward. This is one of the best teams in baseball regardless of what happens . . . Everyone's going to come into camp a little bit more ready to do what we need to do."

Pomeranz gives up three runs in Red Sox loss to Blue Jays

Pomeranz gives up three runs in Red Sox loss to Blue Jays

Starter Drew Pomeranz gives up three runs on five hits in four innings of work in the Red Sox' 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Friday.

Lou Merloni breaks down Pomeranz's start and explains why he should be in the starting rotation to begin the season.

Sox' lack of homegrown starters an understandable problem to Yanks' Cashman

Sox' lack of homegrown starters an understandable problem to Yanks' Cashman

The dearth of homegrown starting pitching for the Red Sox is talked about almost as much as every Tom Brady post on Instagram.

Red Sox fans may take some solace in knowing their team isn’t the only one dealing with this problem.

In an interview with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman didn’t talk about his team’s pitching problems in context of the Red Sox. But the explanation the longtime Yanks boss offered should sound familiar. 

In the biggest of markets, time to develop properly is scarce.

“Yeah. It's a fact,” Cashman said when asked if criticism of their pitching development was fair. “I think part of the process has been certainly where we draft. Because we've had a lot of success, we've not been allowed to tank and go off the board and therefore get access to some of the high-end stuff that plays out to be impactful. Part of it is we can't get out of our own way because we don't have the patience to let guys finish off their development, because if you possess some unique ability that stands out above everybody else -- whether it was Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, now [Luis] Severino and before that [Bryan] Mitchell and Shane Greene -- we're pulling them up before their development is finished.

“Teams like Tampa Bay, for instance, they're going to wait until they have their four pitches down and their innings limits are all exceeded at the minor-league level; they're very disciplined in that approach as they finish off their starters. For us, if I'm looking at my owner and he says, ‘What's our best team we can take north?’ 

“Well, ‘We could take this guy; he's not necessarily 100 percent finished off, but we can stick him in our 'pen. He can be in the back end of our rotation, because he's better than some of the guys we already have,’ and then you cut corners, so I think that probably plays a role in it.”

Not everything is circumstantial, though -- or a deflection. 

“And sometimes we don't make the right decisions, either, when we're making draft selections and signings and stuff like that,” Cashman continued. “On top of it all, playing in New York is a lot different than playing anywhere else.”

We’ve heard that last part about Boston too, here and there.

Cashman was complimentary of his current Sox counterpart, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, whose team Cashman has compared to the Golden State Warriors.

On his feelings when he first heard the Sox were getting Chris Sale:

“When that trade was consummated, that was the first thing I thought about, which was, 'Wow, look at what they've done,' ” Cashman said. “I know how it's going to play out for them. Listen, Steve Kerr does a great job managing that team -- oh, I mean John Farrell. It's a lot of talent and with talent comes pressure to perform. I think Dave Dombrowski has done everything he possibly can to provide that city with a world championship team. They've got 162 games to show it.”