Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz aiming to be Derek Jeter's last pitcher

Rob Bradford
September 27, 2014 - 2:52 pm
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For Clay Buchholz, the scenario is a dream. He was the kid from Texas who grew up with that poster on his wall of his baseball idol, the one of the guy the young shortstop-turned-pitcher fashioned his baseball world around. And now -- one week from Sunday -- Buchholz will get the opportunity to become the last pitcher Derek Jeter ever faces. "It'€™s a game you try and go as deep as you can to be that last pitcher that he faces. I'€™ve definitely thought about that," Buchholz said. "You have to take care of everybody else before you get to that point. There is going to be a lot of stuff going on. It'€™s something that'€™s pretty neat to think about." Buchholz is scheduled to pitch the Red Sox' last game of the season, which just happens to be against the Yankees. It also happens to be the final game for the soon-to-be Hall of Famer. When Buchholz first stared down Jeter -- resulting in the shortstop claiming an infield single during an April 16, 2008 game at Yankee Stadium -- such a moment seemed implausible for the young pitcher. ("I was definitely nervous. There were definitely some nerves going on," he said.) "He was a guy I idolized growing up, playing shortstop," added the Red Sox starter, who has faced Jeter 32 times, limiting him to a .276 batting average without any homers. "It was pretty neat being in that stadium and pitching against the Yankees for the first time in your career. "It was just him. I grew up and there were Yankees hats everywhere. Boston and Yankees. Everybody was either wearing a Boston hat or a Yankees hat where I grew up. He was the guy I watched the most. I liked the way he played the game." Getting to Jeter's final at-bat will be a feat. Other pitchers have such acts in similarly monumental moments and come up short. (Surely, Cleveland starter Bud Anderson wanted to be that guy in Carl Yastrzemski's last game on Oct. 2, 1983, but instead that fell on reliever Dan Spillner.) Still, Buchholz is grateful for the opportunity to give it a whirl. "It'€™s a game to me that'€™s a little bit different in a couple of different ways. But at the same time, it'€™s still baseball. I have to go out and execute pitches and try to get outs," the pitcher said. "Things are going to be magnified by a pretty good amount. I'€™m sure I'€™ll have to do a couple of sit-downs about it. I'€™m sort of looking forward to it, actually."