Clay, Drysdale, Spahn and Koufax
|09.09.09 at 12:05 am ET|
There were two distinct memories running through the minds of many Red Sox fans on Tuesday night as they watched Clay Buchholz dominate the Baltimore Orioles in a 10-0 laugher at Fenway Park.
The first was a very good one. Two years and a week to the day, the right-hander mastered the Orioles unlike any Red Sox rookie pitcher ever had before, no-hitting the same Orioles team by the same 10-0 score on the same Fenway Park field.
Dreams of a repeat ended when Nick Markakis single sharply to center with two outs in the fourth. Still, Buchholz was on his game, retiring the first 10 batters he faced on Tuesday and needing fewer than 40 pitches to do so.
“The results were there,” Buchholz said. “Today, the steady mix of pitches that I was able to throw over the plate for strikes and as the game went on, they started chasing pitches a little bit off the plate and that always helps. There were still pitches that I threw that were middle, thigh high, but they just missed.”
Add to the fact that he was given an 8-0 lead after three innings, and it was a great night to be Buchholz. Just ask the Orioles.
“He probably looked like a combination of Don Drysdale, Warren Spahn and Sandy Koufax when he got an 8-0 lead,” Baltimore skipper Dave Trembley said. “He kept pitching.”
The other memory, however, was not so fond for Buchholz or the Red Sox. It was Aug. 2 and the Red Sox gave Buchholz leads of 7-0 and 14-6 and he looked uncomfortable from the start pitching with the big lead. He was pulled after allowing the Orioles seven runs and nine hits and not retiring a single batter in the fifth.
It’s not often you see a starting pitcher given a nine-run lead and need three outs and not get the win.
But Buchholz pitched on Tuesday night like he learned his lesson of five weeks ago.
“I try to keep that out of my mind as much as possible,” Buchholz said. “The last start I had against these guys, we scored a few runs in the first and second and then I went out there and let the game blow up and let them back in the game. I try to stay as if the game was still tied and pitch the same way I would if it was a 0-0 game or a 1-1 game. I think that kept my pitches a little bit more crisp than they were last time against these guys.”
And his teammates appreciated it, to be sure.
“He looked great,” said Dustin Pedroia, with two Boston’s six home runs as support. “He’s been getting stronger and stronger each time he goes out so hopefully, he can keep it going.”
Indeed, Buchholz has shown signs of becoming a reliable if not key pitcher down the stretch for Boston. In his last seven starts, he is 4-2 with a 3.00 ERA with six quality starts.
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