Red Sox pregame notes: Making sense of the Clay Buchholz conundrum

Rob Bradford
October 23, 2013 - 12:44 pm

This we know ... Clay Buchholz is ready to pitch either Game 3 or 4 of the World Series, and there is at least some concern over the pitcher's stamina (as has been evidenced throughout his postseason starts). The Red Sox also, according to manager John Farrell, are not concerned about any physical limitations regarding the pitcher to the point they would hesitate in starting him. This we don't know ... Which game Buchholz will pitch, and how extensive the physical issues might be. "John Lackey is pitching tomorrow. Nothing has changed there," Farrell said prior to Game 1 of the World Series. "We haven't determined of the two, Clay and/or [Jake] Peavy, who will start which game. Both will start." Asked if there were any physical issues with Buchholz that led to the uncertainty regarding designating a specific game the righty will be starting, Farrell said, "Not to the point of keeping him out of starting." Farrell then went on to explain that a combination of seeing how St. Louis hitters react to certain styles of right-handers and whether Buchholz might benefit from another day of rest will factor into the decision. The manager acknowledged that Buchholz' propensity to quickly hit the wall in the middle innings throughout the postseason was being analyzed and taken into consideration. (He has a .205 batting average against in innings 1-4, while totaling a .435 clip in Innings 5-6 in the three playoff starts.) "I think just the intensity of each pitch. You combine that with the high number of pickoffs and you're starting to add to the total number of throws," said Farrell when asked what might be leading to Buchholz' problems in the fifth or sixth innings. "What that shows is just the intensity. Whether there's also a mental fatigue part that's coming into that because there's so much energy spent on controlling that side of it '€¦ We're working through those things and trying to make that a little bit more at ease." Farrell later added, '€œI think if you think back to '€™09 and '€™10, Clay will throw over a lot. If that'€™s his way of kind of managing the emotion and getting into the flow of things, it might not be ideal in terms of the flow of the game. But if the bottom line results are there, at this point and time of the year, that'€™s kind of where you are.'€ As for why Felix Doubront was throwing a simulated game Tuesday, Farrell said the exercise was planned, with the team possibly eyeing using the lefty out of the bullpen in Game 2 (and Game 1 if absolutely needed). The manager also explained that replacing Franklin Morales on the roster with lefty reliever Matt Thornton really wasn't a consideration. Farrell also reiterated that the heavy splits from St. Louis starters Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly (both right-handers) will be a factor in how the Red Sox manage the Daniel Nava/Jonny Gomes (left field) and David Ortiz/Mike Napoli (first base) decisions.