Clay Buchholz isn't going anywhere, and the Sox clearly plan on rationing their expenditure of the 23 year-old righthander. Last night Buchholz evened his record at 2-2 and delivered 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball, lowering his ERA to 3.71.
I think Buchholz has the potential to be one of the top starters in the AL because he has three out pitches, including a 93-94 hour fastball that he throws to either side of the plate, a curveball in the Blyleven tradition, and a terrific change. He also seems to have the makeup to be successful in a big market.
In his last three starts (19.3 innings) he has allowed 13 hits, 3 earned runs, fanned 21, walked eight and given the Sox a chance to win each time out. His WHIP ratio is down to 1.32 (I think he can get close to or under 1.1 eventually (7 hits and 3 walks per nine innings) and his K/9 ratio will be around one. When he gets more command, I think his pitch count will FALL as guys are going to have to go up swinging or they'll go down swinging. As I said BEFORE he got to the majors, the pitcher he reminds me of is Jim Palmer. I won't claim that he'll get to the status of Palmer, but that's the kind of stuff he has. Everyone has a gift, but not everyone's gift gets developed.
There's only one person that can keep Buchholz from becoming a top of the rotation stud - Buchholz. If he dedicates himself to becoming the best, listening to guys like Varitek, Schilling, and John Farrell, the sky's the limit for this player. And you don't read me saying that about every pitcher on the Sox. To be a top of the line major league hurler you have to remember the words of Ray Miller, "work fast, change speeds, throw strikes." Hitting is timing and pitching is about disrupting timing, and you need the stuff and the courage to throw it to make hitters miss AND as my college coach reminded me, to make them hit YOUR pitch.