Lack of control dooms Buchholz in loss to Jays

Lack of control dooms Buchholz in loss to Jays
July 23, 2014, 11:15 pm
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TORONTO -- The Clay Buchholz on the mound Wednesday bore little resemblance to the Buchholz the Red Sox have seen over the last month.

Before Wednesday, Buchholz had issued just one walk over his previous 35 2/3 innings.

But in the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to Toronto, their second loss in a row, Buchholz had little command and constantly fell out of his delivery.

He walked four and hit two batters only one of those six who received free passes came around to score, the extra baserunners drove up Buchholz's pitch counts and extended innings.

"Walks killed me tonight,'' sighed Buchholz, who allowed five runs in six innings and dropped to 5-6. "I was deinitely coming out of (my delivery), jumping at the plate. That's what causes pitches to miss. I just couldn't seem to correct it for the duration of the game. I felt like I'd (find his delivery) for a couple of hitters and then fall back into it, which is something that happens sometimes.

"You just have to do a better job of taking care of it.''

Worse, Buchholz seemed to be putting Blue Jays on who might otherwise have a tough time reaching base against him. Two of the four walks were issued to light hitting catcher Josh Thole, hitting seventh, and he twice hit No. 9 hitter Anthony Gose.

"Walks, they'll find a way to score,'' Buchholz said. "I've been fortunate enough over the last four or five starts, not walking many guys and making them earn they way on. It hurts a little bit more when you know that you're the reason they're on base in the first place.''

Beyond the walks and hit batsmen, Buchholz had difficulty commanding his pitches within the strike zone. He didn't get ahead much -- throwing first-pitch strikes to just 16 of the 29 hitters he faced and his pitches often caught too much of the plate.

Moreover, Buchholz couldn't protect leads. The Red Sox pounced on Toronto starter R.A. Dickey for three runs after just three hitters came to the plate, thanks a titanic shot by David Ortiz, who hit a ball off the facing of the fourth deck at Rogers Centre.

But just as quickly, Buchholz gave up three runs in the bottom of the first.

"I couldn't find the zone there for a little bit,'' recounted Buchholz. "I didn't really have command of anything. I was lucky to get out of it without giving up any more than I did. I felt like I settled down there for a good bit and pitches started coming back slowly.''

Indeed, from the second through the fifth, Buchholz held the Jays scoreless and yielded just one hit.

But after the Red Sox had regained the lead in the fifth, Buchholz allowed two to Toronto in the bottom of the sixth.

"I let that lead go, so I'll take the blame for this one, for sure,'' said Buchholz.