Buchholz finally finds his form

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Buchholz finally finds his form

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

NEW YORK -- Six weeks into the regular season, the Red Sox had not seen much of the Clay Buchholz who compiled the second-best ERA among American League starters last season.

There were good starts, including his last, which came with an extra degree of difficulty: he first had to wait out a rain delay of more than two hours. There were flashes, certainly, but nothing as consistently dominant, from start to finish, that typified his outings last year.

But Friday night, the Buchholz of 2010 re-appeared. And he showed up in an unlikely place -- Yankee Stadium, where Buchholz had struggled historically.

Not Friday. Buchholz limited the Yankees to just two runs over seven innings. He fanned seven thanks to a lively fastball which featured plenty of movement, and just for good measure, he mixed in an effective changeup.

"I thought he was tremendous,'' said Terry Francona after the Red Sox held off the New York Yankees, 5-4. "He was really good. He threw the ball down and with movement and he had good velocity. We're all pleased, especially against a lineup like that.''

That lineup and this ballpark had been tough on Buchholz. Before Friday night, he had a 6.35 career ERA at Yankee Stadium. His career ERA against the Yankees wasn't much better (6.25).

But Buchholz aggressively attacked the Yankees from the beginning, registering his first 1-2-3 opening inning this season. Not until the fourth inning when Alex Rodriguez singled through the hole between short and third did the Yankees collect a hit.

"I just tried to stay on location,'' Buchholz said. "I was thinking that when I was throwing a two-seamer in to the righthanders to make sure I got it in and not leave it over the middle of the plate. I did that for the most part, then kept them off-balance with the off-speed pitches.''

Buchholz thought his season began to turn around last weekend against Minnesota when, out of desperation, the Sox sent him back out to the mound after a lengthy rain delay.

Thanks to an off-day and a rejiggering of the rotation, Buchholz was pitching with the benefit of some extra rest, but never felt out of sorts.

"The last two have been fun,'' he said. "It's a little bit easier to pitch when you've got all your pitches working. Tonight, I felt really good with everything. The cutter was a really good pitch, the changeup was good and my two-seamer was good, too.''

Not until the fifth was Buchholz was really challenged. Jorge Posada singled hard to right to start the inning and Russell Martin jumped on a mistake and drove it out to left-center to tie the game.

Until then, however, the Yankees had not hit the ball hard against him -- he had a total of 18 swings and misses, the most in any start this season -- and he closed strong.

After the homer by Martin and a single to Brett Gardner, Buchholz retired nine of the last 10 hitters he faced.

He took the Red Sox through seven complete for the first time this year and looked like he had something left.

The win was his third in a row, and the suspicion is, after a month in which he took some time to figure things out, Buchholz has turned the corner and may be ready to go on a long roll, like the one he rode through the final five months of 2010.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

The Cardinals broke open a close game with four runs in the last two innings against Red Sox relief prospect Chandler Shepherd and went on to a 7-2 exhibition victory over Boston yesterday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Cardinals box score

The loss dropped the Sox to 1-3 for the exhibition season.

Boston had jumped on top, 1-0, on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the first, but St. Louis countered with two runs in the second and one in the third, all against starter Brian Johnson. It remained 3-1 until the Cards touched Shepherd for two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. The Red Sox added their final run in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Jordan Procyshen, who spent last season at Single-A Salem, hit a sacrifice fly.

Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Chris Young each had two hits for the Red Sox. who also got scoreless relief from Teddy Stankiewicz, Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Kyle Martin and Brandon Workman. It was Bogaerts' last game before leaving to compete for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

The Sox host the Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."