Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling on D&C: 'Numbers don't match the talent' for Clay Buchholz

April 15, 2015 - 6:04 am

ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Wednesday morning to respond to the criticism he's been facing for his comments about Clay Buchholz. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. Schilling has received some backlash for what he said last week about Buchholz lacking the internal drive. The remarks drew criticism from the likes of NESN analyst Steve Lyons, who said Schilling should have taken Buchholz under his wing and told him what to do when they pitched together like Roger Clemens had done with Schilling. Schilling said he talked to Buchholz but that he noticed a difference between young pitchers and how he came up in the game. "You can't force someone to do something they don't want to do, and one of the things that you do as a veteran pitcher is you try and kind of lay a path of multiple options out for young [pitchers], 'cause there's no one way to do this thing," Schilling said. "I obviously was big into preparation and video and all that stuff and I would always pass that stuff along, but the thing that got me, and it wasn't just Clay, but a lot of the new, younger generation of pitchers, when I was at the end of my career, they didn't ask questions. It felt like the game stopped at the water's edge, like, when they went home the game was over and now I have to go do stuff." Schilling also wanted to clarify that his initial comments had nothing to do with him rooting against Buchholz. "I was just obviously giving my opinion," he said. "But I think one of the things I always had issues with with younger players was the desire to win, to be great, and you don't have to go throw stuff and yell and cuss and be a tough guy when you lose to want it. It's just, it's actions. What do you do between your starts? What do you talk about? And I'm not sure I ever really had a conversation about pitching with him. "And that doesn't mean anything," he added. "That doesn't mean he didn't go to somebody else. ... And Clay's not a loudmouth like me. I mean, he wasn't talkative, he was a young player, and he did right as far as trying to know his place and stuff, but again, I'm trying to think of an example. There are players who come up who the game just consumes them, and they're grabbing somebody and talking and every piece of advice they can get. I used to ask everybody questions. We'd go to Baltimore, I'd ask Jim Palmer, and we'd be in Cleveland and I'd find [Bob] Feller would be at the park and [Bob] Gibson, everybody, [Sandy] Koufax and [Don] Drysdale and that was I just was trying to figure out why the best were the best." Schilling also was quick to respond to the comment that Buchholz doesn't seem like he loves the game of baseball, saying that it was dangerous to assume that because all guys are different. "He doesn't have to be a No. 1, he doesn't have to act like a No. 1, I think that that gets played probably more than it should," Schilling said. "You want to put your players in the best position to succeed, so you're foolish to ask someone to be something they're not or to do something they aren't comfortable doing, and I don't know that he is or isn't. "What I do know is the numbers don't match the talent, and that's the thing that was always kind of frustrating, and he threw a no-hitter in his second big league start, and there are no-hitters that are flukes. There are no-hitters that are, for lack of a better word, they're lucky and you can think back to some that happened and think, 'OK, yeah, it was a no-hitter, but ...' Clay was dominating, and that no-hitter was legit, and it was a power no-hitter for me and that guy had a 5.3 ERA last year. ... The one analogy I can give you is this ... you hit .330 one year, and then you hit .105 the next year, you hit .320 the next year and then .210, there's something there, and that's the frustrating part is that he hasn't been able to put it together for year after year. People kind of open their eyes at the comment about how athletically gifted I said he was, but people don't know, this guy was a No. 1, Division 1 wide receiving recruit out of high school. He was a 4.2[-second] 40[-yard dash] guy, phenomenal athlete, and you can see it in his stuff, his pure stuff is as good as just about anybody's." Because Buchholz is inconsistent in his pitching, Schilling said he doesn't garner the same attention from opponents. "You want to have that bit of, I don't want to call it intimidation but I always wanted people to think, 'Hey, Schilling's throwing Friday,' " he said. "When Clemens used to pitch, or when [Randy Johnson] pitched, guys on the other team knew what day he was throwing. If he was pitching Saturday, the guys that were facing him on Monday knew he was pitching Saturday. They were like, 'Oh, R.J.'s pitching Saturday.' You always wanted to be one of those guys, and I'm not sure that hitters have said, 'We've got Clay on Wednesday,' but that's the kind of stuff that he has that he should be that guy, in my mind."