USA TODAY Sports
How will Clay Buchholz respond to an up-and-down--wait, strike that, reverse it--2012 season?
Clay Buchholz' 2012 season was not the best of his career. Far from it. Looked at as a whole, in fact, Clay's 2012 season is the sort to cast doubt on whether or not he'll be able to perform in 2013.
Those of us who watched that season unfold, however, know better. We saw how Clay was completely ineffectual in April, how his struggles continued into May, and how he righted the ship dramatically in the second half of the month. In the span of two weeks, Buchholz went from a total wreck, to the best pitcher Boston had. And while that's small praise given the events of 2012, he really was something.
Clay kept right on going for the most part, though his numbers suffered towards the end of the year. Likely that's in part due to having nothing left to play for, in part due to having the likes of Mauro Gomez and Ryan Lavarnway gumming up the defensive works following the trade with the Dodgers. In the end, though, so long as you can overlook the terrible start in his final game of the year against the Yankees, we're left with an encouraging picture.
Still, the question remains for Buchholz perhaps more than any other pitcher: who is he? We've seen dominance, but with the caveat of BABIP and luck. We've seen disaster, but with the caveat of injury. Clay Buchholz has gone all along the spectrum from unhittable to unbearable. Where does he truly belong, and where will he end up in 2013?