John Farrell: 'There's no plan at this point to remove [Clay Buchholz] from the rotation'

May 21, 2014 - 7:58 pm
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For Clay Buchholz, the struggle has been pronounced. The right-hander is amidst one of the worst stretches of his career. A five-run shellacking by the Blue Jays on Wednesday raised his ERA to 6.32; his record dropped to 2-4 in eight starts. He's given up at least nine hits in each of his last three starts, and with the two home runs launched by Edwin Encarnacion in Wednesday's 6-4 Red Sox loss to Toronto, Buchholz has now given up seven homers in nine starts this year -- three more than he permitted in 16 outings last year. Yet even with those struggles, even with the fact that Buchholz now represents uncertainty regarding the outing-to-outing innings he can provide (Wednesday marked the fourth time in nine starts this year that he's failed to log at least five innings), the Sox have no plans to reconsider the rotation spot of the 29-year-old. "There's no plan at this point to remove him from the rotation," said manager John Farrell. "It's upon us to make the necessary adjustments to eliminate the number of mistakes, and that's where he's been hurt most -- he's mislocated pitches." Farrell suggested that Buchholz isn't dealing with any questions about his health. Instead, he's simply dealing with some mechanical inconsistencies that are manifesting themselves as misses over the heart of the plate. "Inconsistent command. Far too many at-bats where he pitched behind in the count. Uncharacteristic, from what we know of Clay, is that mistakes found their way to the middle of the plate," said Farrell. "Physically there's no complaints, no issues. We've got to make either an adjustment or a correction mechanically because too many misfires up to the arm side. "Tonight, I thought, in the second and the third inning, he was rushing. His body was ahead of the arm. It didn't catch up," he continued. "That's where you saw a number of pitches up in the strike zone. When he did get the ball down, it found its way to the middle of the plate. At this point, to me, it looks mechanical in nature." That, at least, is correctable, as opposed to a physical issue that would represent a more prohibitive challenge. But while Buchholz expressed some confidence that he can return to form, his urgency to do so was evident. "The 2008 season (when Buchholz was a rookie) was a little tougher than this is right now, because I know that I have everything that I need to compete. It's just taking a little bit more time than I want it to right now," said Buchholz. "I've been through some ups and downs throughout my career. I've always found a way to battle back and find where I need to be to be consistent, to be a guy who can go out there and have confidence and the team have confidence in me to be in a game. It's tough letting down the guys half the time that I run out there. That's something that I'm struggling with right now myself."

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