The Clay Buccholz excuse machine needs to stop. Seriously!
After another abysmal outing--arguably his worst of the season (and possibly career) on Memorial Day, Buchholz and his manager John Farrell were full of excuses as to why he failed to make it past the fifth inning for the third time in his last four starts.
Buchholz gave up six runs on four hits and allowed a career high eight walks in three innings pitched. To make matters worse for Buchholz, the "suffocating" heat and humidity of Hotlanta was apparently "too much" for him as he allegedly lost seven pounds in his second shortest outing of the season and his ERA ballooned up to a ghastly 7.02, worst among qualifying pitchers.
Seriously though? How do you lose seven pounds during the course of a game!? A game in which you only last three innings! Was Clay not drinking any water? Were you dehydrated Clay? Was that why you stunk up the joint!?
The Red Sox however, were able to overcome Buchholz's shortcomings and finally snapped their 10 game losing streak in a come from behind 8-6 victory over the Atlanta Braves. If it wasn't for the offense to bail him out, the Red Sox would have extended their historic losing streak to 11 games, tying the 1994 Butch Hobson Red Sox for longest in franchise history.
The excuses don't stop there though. First Buchholz said that running the bases in his only at-bat in which he singled to right field made him tired. Then it was the combination of running the bases and the Turner Field mound that caused him to hyperextend his knee and give the Red Sox an excuse to put him on the 15-day disabled list.
The frustrating thing about Buchholz is that we know what he is capable of. We know he is capable of being an ace, a Cy Young candidate and one of the most dominant pitchers in all of Major League Baseball.
This is the same pitcher that threw a no-hitter in his second ever Major League start of his career against the Baltimore Orioles in September of 2007. He has even given us glimpses of the good Clay this season when he gave up only one run on three hits in 6.1 innings pitched in his May 2nd start against the AL West leading Oakland Athletics.
The Clay Buchholz we saw for the first half of last season is nowhere to be found. He has failed to make it out of the fifth inning in half of his 10 starts this season and has yet to see his ERA dip below 5.00, let alone 4.00! He has also allowed at least six runs in four of his 10 starts this season.
The sad thing is (not to toot my own horn or anything), I kind of saw something like this coming. Throughout the Red Sox magical World Series run of last season, during the second half of the season, it seemed like he was the only guy on that team that didn't get it.
His excuses throughout the second half of last season as to why he "couldn't" pitch proved to me that despite his talent, he has no mental toughness or intestinal fortitude what so ever. It got to the point last season that I believed that the Red Sox should have traded Buchholz in the offseason while his value was still high. Now, I'm not sure if he has any value at all.
Despite all that went down in the second half of last season with Buchholz, there was no way that I thought the drop off would be this drastic. No one could have predicted that he could be THIS bad. It is startling to watch how bad and inconsistent Buchholz has been this year and his excuses aren't doing him any favors.
Putting him on the disabled list however is probably the best thing for both the Red Sox and Buchholz. It allows the Red Sox to send Buchholz down to Triple-A to figure out what the heck is wrong with him, whether it be mechanical, mental or physical.
Even though Buchholz and the team swear there is nothing physically wrong with his shoulder or elbow, maybe there is something wrong that he is hiding and not disclosing to the team. If that were the case, it would at least explain why the sudden drop off in production and ineffectiveness.
Whatever the problem may be with Buchholz, the excuses have got to stop. The Red Sox can no longer tolerate Buchholz's excuses. Excuses caused Buchholz to miss the second half of last season despite the go ahead to pitch from Dr. James Andrews for a seemingly insignificant injury that normally would not require a player to miss a significant amount of playing time.
Clay, if you are hurt, say that you are hurt. If you are healthy and just flat out sucked, say that you sucked. But I will certainly not tolerate anymore excuses and the Red Sox shouldn't either.