John Farrell (finally) confirms Clay Buchholz as Opening Day starter: 'This is his time'

Mike Petraglia
March 29, 2015 - 6:27 am
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- John Farrell finally dispensed with the drama toward the end of his Sunday pre-game briefing with reporters at JetBlue Park. Clay Buchholz will be the starting pitcher when the Red Sox begin the season April 6 in Philadelphia. Rick Porcello will start the second game on April 8 while the third pitcher for the series is undecided, pending roster moves in the final week before the team breaks camp. Farrell made the announcement unprompted toward the end of the session with reporters, after several media inquiries the last three weeks were met with polite procrastination from the Red Sox skipper. "Buchholz will start Monday in Philly," Farrell announced. What went into the decision? "A whole plan, I'll leave it at that," Farrell quipped, before adding some insight and perspective. "He came into camp in a good place, both mentally and physically. Each bullpen to game outing he pitched, his delivery is on line. The line score last time out doesn't reflect the way the ball came out of his hand. Now, line scores are important. I get it. But he feels good physically. He's confident. We've seen when Clay has been in that place, he's one of the better pitchers in baseball. We fully expect that to begin the season in that form." Buchholz allowed 12 hits and four runs in five-plus innings in his last start Friday at Disney against the Braves but has been very much in command this spring, striking out 18 batters and walking just three in 15 innings, posting a 3.60 ERA. "He's embraced it. He understands and has lived the changes that have gone on around him. He is fully aware of everything that is Boston and that goes along with being a starting pitcher for the Red Sox. He doesn't back away from it. He may go about it in his own way. He's not the most vocal guy in the world. He's been here for a number of years and to me, he's in a position to embrace that and assume that." As for procrastinating in announcing to the media, Farrell made no apologies Sunday. "I think you come into spring training with a thought and a plan and you want to see it kind of play out," Farrell said. "I think if we come in without that plan, the last thing we will ever have is guys being directionless. It's important to have that tentative plan in place. That's been in place since last winter. "Nothing specific to him. I think even last year with Jon Lester, it was very clear. He was going to be our [No. 1] starter. We want to make sure guys get through an appropriate number of starts and there's no physical ailments or setbacks along the way and just let it play out. There's no rush to name it, I don't think. Guys have an understanding internally of where we have guys lined up and you let it work its way through. "I think most every starting pitcher views Opening Day as an honor, that it's been earned to some extent. And through time here in the organization, through elite performance and fairly long stretches for Clay, this is his time."