Buchholz looks into upping his tempo

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Buchholz looks into upping his tempo

FORT MYERS, Fla. Wednesdays scheduled offday fell on Clay Buchholzs scheduled day to pitch. So, he started the Triple-A game against a Rays squad just one of the benefits of pitching in minor league games.

Buchholz faced six batters in his first inning, recording five outs on 13 pitches, 11 strikes, with a hit and a strikeout. Odd pitching lines like that are another benefit of these outings.

Another benefit is that it allowed Buchholz to get in some necessary work. He pitched six innings, facing 27 batters, allowing 5 runs, four earned, on six hits, with two home runs, a walk and four strikeouts. He threw 89 pitches, 57 for strikes.

While it wasnt the cleanest of outings for Buchholz, he got what he needed from the outing.

Yeah, absolutely, he said. My first deal was to go out there and throw a lot of changeups. If I missed with it, throw it again. And unfortunately I did that a couple of times back-to-back and threw them both balls behind in the count. First inning felt really good, like everything was going as planned, and then had a couple of long innings after that. But the way I finished I felt really good about it.

It was after one of those long innings that pitching coach Bob McClure made a suggestion to Buchholz.

He got better increasing his tempo as he went along, McClure said.

The result?

Good stuff. I think he can work quicker and be more effective. And we talked about it, and he said it too.

Could a quicker tempo help Buchholz be more effective?

I dont know, but I would bet it would, McClure said. Just guessing, I think theres more flow there if you do it that way. Ive seen some guys real slow. Rick Sutcliffe was slow and a great pitcher. Mike Hargrove as a hitter was real slow but good hitter. Ive seen guys work slow and be good pitchers.

It can be a fine line to get a pitcher to change his tempo, possibly taking him out of his routine. But they payoff can be worth it.

Ive seen him pitch better when hes quicker, McClure said. When hes slower it doesnt seem as good. And I think it has something to do with the rhythm of his delivery, too -- when he thinks about getting the sign earlier, getting the pitch earlier, getting on the same page as the catcher earlier. At least from the windup it looks like theres more rhythm. When he goes real slow it almost looks like he starts and stops and goes again.

Im not sure if theyre connected but it sure looked like it today because after we talked about it he got seven outs in one inning on 18 pitches. He faced 10 guys in about 29 pitches. There was one hit in there, but he faced 10 guys and got nine of them out on less than 30 pitches, whereas the two innings before that it wasnt like that.

All we talked about was can you take less time in between pitches? And he said, Yes I can. Why, am I too slow? And I said I think so.

Those last couple innings felt like the ball was coming out of my hand a lot better than it was the first four innings, Buchholz said. Sped everything up a little bit delivery-wise. Felt like mechanics were a little bit better. Yeah, the body feels good.

It was Buchholzs sixth outing of the season, including minor league games. He is confident he is where he needs to be, unlike last season when he didnt feel prepared to start the season.

Yeah, just being able to do all the work in between and not having any ill effects from last year has helped out a lot, he said. Just knowing that each one of my pitches has been good at least one or two days throughout the spring. So think its just repetition now and getting to where I can throw the changeup in any count like I have been for the last couple seasons. I think once I get to that point I thin everything else sort of follows it.

Now, its just a matter of being ready for the start of the season.

I think just get ready for that first game of the season, mentally be ready, he said. Start with strike one and go from there. I think thats everybodys key. Throw strike one and then work your way to the hitter getting themselves out. Thats just my number one thought, going deep in the games.

Twitter reacts to Isaiah Thomas' cryptic eyeball emoji tweet

Twitter reacts to Isaiah Thomas' cryptic eyeball emoji tweet

Isaiah Thomas didn't have to tweet any words to set Twitter ablaze in Boston. The Boston Celtics guard tweeted a eye emoji on Monday night.

And that was enough to spark trade speculation and jokes -- lots of jokes.

With New England on edge following the DeMarcus Cousins trade, Boston fans and many members of the media responded on twitter.

They reacted to Thomas' tweet featuring eyeball emoji with thoughts a trade for Jimmy Butler may be in store.

Be sure to check out all the hilarious tweets below.

There was the rational approach.


The playful response.


The not-so rational response.


And perhaps the most important tweet from Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren

What Celtics have to offer in potential trade

What Celtics have to offer in potential trade

BOSTON – Between now and Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline, the Boston Celtics are going to have conversations involving most if not all their assets. 

Here’s a look at what the Celtics have to offer as part of a potential trade, broken down between draft picks and the rights to players.

DRAFT PICKS

2017

-Own first round pick (have the right to swap for Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick)

-Own second round pick (top-45 protected; will be conveyed to Brooklyn if Celtics swap first-round picks with the Nets this year).

-Minnesota Timberwolves’ second round pick

-Cleveland Cavaliers’ second round pick

-Los Angeles Clippers’ second round pick

2018

-Own first round pick

-Brooklyn’s first round pick

-Own second round pick (top-55 protected; if it falls outside of that range, will be conveyed to Oklahoma City).

2019

-Own first-round pick

-Memphis Grizzlies' first round pick*

-Los Angeles Clippers' first round pick (top-14 protected; pick can only be conveyed to Boston two years after the Clippers convey a first-round pick to Toronto which is likely to happen this year).

-Own second round pick (top-55 protected; if it falls outside of the top-55, pick will be conveyed to Memphis).

-Detroit Pistons' second round pick

2020

-Own first round pick

-Memphis' first round pick*

-Clippers' first round pick (top-14 protected; conveyed this year if it wasn’t sent Boston’s way in 2019).

-Own second round pick

-Miami's second round pick

2021

-Own first round pick

-Memphis' first round pick*

-Own second round pick

2022

-Own first round pick

-Memphis' first round pick*

-Own second round pick

-Clippers' second round pick (If first round pick not conveyed to Boston by 2020, Clippers will send the Celtics their 2022 second round pick).

*This pick from Memphis will be conveyed to Boston two years after the Grizzlies send a first-round pick to Denver. The pick is top-6-protected in 2017 and 2018, and is unprotected in 2019. The pick Boston will receive from Memphis is top-9 protected in 2019, top-7 protected in 2020 and unprotected in 2021.

RIGHTS TO PLAYERS

Guershon Yabusele

Size, position: 6-foot-8 power forward

How acquired by Boston: Drafted by the Celtics in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft, 16th overall.

Statistics this season: Yabusele is playing with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association. He is averaging 21.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

Ante Zizic

Size, position: 6-foot-11 power forward/center

How acquired by Boston: Drafted by the Celtics in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft, No. 23 overall.

Statistics this season: Playing for Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul led by ex-NBA coach David Blatt, Zizic has averaged 10.3 points and 67.3 percent shooting from the field. 

Abdel Nader

Size, position: 6-foot-8 shooting guard/small forward

How acquired by Boston: Drafted by the Celtics in the second round of the 2016 NBA draft, 58th overall.

Statistics this season: Playing for Boston’s Gatorade-League affiliate the Maine Red Claws, Nader was named to the G-League’s all-star team in large part because of his 22 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game average this season.

Marcus Thornton

Size, position: 6-foot-4 shooting guard

Status: Drafted by the Celtics in the second round of the 2015 NBA draft, 45th overall.

This season: Playing for Consultinvest VL Pesaro in Italy-Serie A, Thornton is averaging 11.9 points, 1.5 assists and 1.9 rebounds.