BOSTON A day after throwing more pitches in a game than hes ever thrown, 127, Clay Buchholz said he felt no differently than he would have after any other start.
Same stiffness, same soreness, he said. Usually the day after I can go out there and play catch and my body feels a little better. But, yeah, everything feels the same as it usually does.
Buchholz went seven scoreless innings Wednesday against the Tigers, lowering his ERA to 3.42, giving up four hits and a walk. He matched his season high in innings and strikeouts, and he allowed a season low one walk. Although he did not get a decision in the game, his outing helped the Red Sox beat the Tigers, 1-0, on a miserably rainy night at Fenway Park.
His pitch count was 17 more than his previous high of 110 in his previous start, a win in Yankee Stadium on May 13.
I dont think theres really a huge difference if youre not tired, if your legs are still underneath, he said. I feel like 100 to 130 pitches isnt really anything if youre able to stay in your delivery and not come out of it and compensate for something with your legs being tired or just being tired in general. Nah, but I felt, even that last inning a couple of pitches got away, but I still felt pretty good.
Buchholzs last three starts have been somewhat unusual. On May 7 against the Twins, he threw just 61 pitches over five innings but that included a rain delay of two hours and seven minutes before the third inning. Buchholz spent time during the delay throwing in the batting cage behind the Red Sox dugout. In his May 13 start in Yankee Stadium, Buchholz set then season highs in innings, with seven, pitches (110), and strikeouts (seven). In total, though, he has thrown 298 pitches in the three outings, which is in line with what pitching coach Curt Young wants to see from his starters.
Well, hes got such a good routine between, and just from talking with him today, hes totally normally, Young said. So, what he does in between is important. When you take a guy high in one start youre definitely going to keep an eye on him in the next start. So Ive talked about the three-start cycle, trying to keep it around 330 pitches, and thatll be the case coming up in his game on Monday.
Buchholz appeared to cruise through his outing Wednesday against the Tigers despite throwing 26 pitchers in a 1-2-3 first inning. He opened the game by striking out his first two-batters, before an 11-pitch Brennan Boesch at-bat ended in flyout to Jacoby Ellsbury in center field.
He entered the seventh inning having thrown 100 pitches. Facing seven batters, he threw 127 pitches. He also hit two batters in the inning, his career high for HBPs in a game. For Young, that was Buchholzs inning to finish.
The only real high pitch count inning was the first where he did a 1-2-3 inning on 26 pitches I think, Young said. Every other one was around that 15 average. You go out for the seventh inning at 100 pitches. I think our guys are possessed. When they start an inning, theyre going to finish the inning and the game called for him to finish that inning right there. I think him and manager Terry Francona might have had a little battle on the mound if he was going to take him out so you love that attitude, and definitely I was keeping an eye on the pitches or it will be something in his next start.
And, with two starters placed on the disabled list this week John Lackey on Monday and Daisuke Matsuzaka Tuesday it helps Youngs relievers for his starters
to go deep into games, not only for that particular game but also for those following.
Oh, yeah, anytime you can get a string of starters pitching deep in games its a great thing, Young said. We really went through it when our guys went through two weeks' worth of that and the bullpen was getting nowhere. And then they went through a period of a week where we were wearing them out. So it really does, it goes in cycles that way. But any time you can get a starter thats consistent the way Clay has been doing its great for a team.
The good cycles usually involve the starters pitching deep. So were always talking about them trying to be efficient as they can and pitch selection has so much to do with that. Changeup is a great pitch to get in an early easy out, or a well-located fastball. So you always push that but sometimes the other team doesnt always cooperate. Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen