Diamondbacks-Red Sox preview
BOSTON — Clay Buchholz gets another chance on Saturday night.
The two-time All-Star, twice banished to the bullpen this season, makes a spot start for the injured Steven Wright when the Boston Red Sox face the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 2 of a weekend interleague series.
“I'd love for him to take the approach that he's used out of the bullpen and that has been I think just a more-aggressive, simplified approach,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Friday night's 9-4 victory in the opener of the series.
“He's made some slight adjustments to his arm slot that has allowed for better depth to his cutter, some consistent sink to his two-seamer … but to not think about pitch count — just go as hard as you can for as long as you can and let the game unfold and we'll adjust accordingly.”
Buchholz, who has allowed just one run in 8 1/3 innings in his last six relief appearances, probably won't force his way into the rotation even with a strong showing — Wright is improving as he works his way toward what Farrell hopes will be a Thursday start. But a good performance will at least allow him to provide depth if needed.
In three starts after coming out of the bullpen the first time, Buchholz went 0-3, allowing 18 hits and 14 runs — 10 earned — while walking seven and yielding five home runs in 14 1/3 innings.
“It's more what I want to do rather than letting the hitter determine what I'm going to throw,” says Buchholz. “I battled that early in my career and I let that get to me early in my career. The years I've gone out and had good years are years I'm going out knowing what I want to do and I'm throwing the pitches I want to throw regardless of who's hitting.
“I'm in a little bit better place right now as far as delivery and things I've been trying to tweak. I just think everything is coming to a head as far as the stuff I've been working on, not really having to think about it. I'm just going out and pitching rather than going out and thinking about mechanical issues or fixes. Right now it's becoming second nature to me.”
He is 4-9 with a 5.64 ERA overall this season as he takes the mound against struggling Arizona right-hander Archie Bradley.
Bradley, once 3-3 on the season but with only one win in his last nine starts, has failed to last five innings in his last two. He has worked eight innings in those two games, allowing 15 hits and 11 runs — 10 earned while walking five.
Bradley came within one out of qualifying for a victory over the Milwaukee Brewers his last time out –a high pitch count chasing him with two out in the fifth inning of the 8-1 victory that started the four-game winning streak the D-backs brought to Boston.
He threw a career-high 116 pitches in that start.
“I just want to be aggressive out there,” Bradley said. “After what happened against Washington (12 hits, seven earned runs in 3 1/3 innings), this is a big step for me, and something I can build.”
Friday night starter Patrick Corbin gave up four runs in the first inning, ending a streak of 14 straight scoreless innings by Arizona starters.