Clay Buchholz has evolved. He went from a whole bunch of potential to a whole lot of hype to a whole giant mess to now:
A whole lot of pure, unfiltered filthiness.
Buchholz showed just how filthy he could be in a complete-game shutout over the Orioles tonight. The Red Sox's offense cruised behind him, winning the first game of the three-game series, 11-0, on Friday night.
Buchholz threw just 101 pitches in the outing with 65 of those going for strikes. Buchh allowed just five hits, one walk and struck out two. The two strikeouts obviously aren't very impressive, but this was: his ability to pitch to contact. Buchholz seemed to throw whatever he needed to get the O's to either ground out or pop up. Buchh was able to induce two double plays, a sign that it's all coming together for him.
The offense clicked from the get-go, as the Sox scored three in the first off O's starter Chris Tillman, who was taken out in the second inning. They continued to beat up on the bullpen, as Kevin Youkilis, Marco Scutaro and Adrian Beltre all had home runs. Beltre's bomb was one of those Twisting-To-One-Knee blasts.
The defense was also very smooth behind Buchholz, making a lot of tough plays look easy.
I need to say a few more things about Buchholz, though. First: awesome. As much as I'd like to see him punch a few more guys out, he doesn't have to if he's inducing ground balls. The strikeouts will come when he needs them, but the groundballs are big. His stuff was just dirty tonight, too. He threw a 77 mph 12-to-6 curveball in the 9th inning that was just devastating. That would break any man's knees.
Slowly, Buchholz has finally lowered his WHIP to a respectable 1.28. It was floating in the 1.50 range for a while and his other numbers looked good. But now that he's not walking as many and the hits obviously aren't flowing off the bats, Buchholz has become one of the best in the American League.
And it doesn't get any better for the Orioles: Jon Lester starts Saturday.
Sorry, Juan Samuel. You picked a bad time to start coaching the Orioles.
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