Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves (far left) visits with starter Clay Buchholz in the fourth inning Saturday. (Michael Ivins/Getty Images)

Buck Showalter, Chris Tillman take swipes at 'forever' pace of Clay Buchholz

Mike Petraglia
April 18, 2015 - 7:37 pm
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Clay Buchholz has earned a reputation as one of the slowest pitchers in baseball with runners on base. The Baltimore Orioles felt the Red Sox pitcher Saturday reached a new low - or long - as he slowed the game down to a crawl in the fourth and fifth innings. Buchholz threw 30 pitches in the fourth, when the Orioles loaded the bases twice but could only score twice. That inning also featured four throws to first and a coaching visit to the mound. It took over 20 minutes to record three outs. But to Buchholz's credit, he limited damage to two runs by getting of the jam with strikeouts of Alejandro De Aza and Steve Pearce. In the fifth inning, it was another tedious inning for Buchholz. He loaded the bases with none out. But a 3-2-3 double play sped things along and then Ryan Flaherty struck out. No runs. Amazingly, Buchholz allowed 11 hits over his six innings, taking 102 pitches to complete his day's work. But Orioles manager Buck Showalter couldn't believe that the two half innings by Buchholz took nearly 40 minutes of the three hours, 24 minutes it took to complete the game. More annoying to Showalter was the impact it had on his starter Chris Tillman. "Let's put it this way, Chris was good, had good stuff," Showalter said. "I think he was challenged by the tempo that was set by things out of his control. Wow. I think it kind of froze things up there a little bit." Tillman confirmed the observation of his manager when asked how long the delays in between innings felt like with Buchholz on the mound. "Forever. I couldn't even tell you how long they felt. They felt like forever," Tillman said. "There were a couple of innings there where he's sitting around for 20, 30 minutes over here," Showalter said. "It's cold and we finally found a couple of heaters. It took him a little while to get loose. It's sad in a way because he had stuff to go deep in that game. We needed at least five or six innings." The reason the Orioles felt they needed five or six innings from Tillman was the untimely ejection of Friday starter Ubaldo Jimenez in the fourth inning. "They had the four-corner stall going there," Showalter said. "It's tough to keep concentration. It's really tough. It seemed like Buchholz had thrown 120 but he had only thrown 80 or 90. It's all about getting that last base touched and we weren't able to do it." "I wouldn't say it's mentally tough," added Tillman. "It's more physically challenging. I've been in that situation enough to prepare myself in the dugout to go back out to make pitches from the get-go. First couple of times it was tough."

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