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Clay Buchholz on Bradfo Sho: ‘Not surprised Red Sox traded me’ 03.13.17 at 11:17 am ET
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Clay Buchholz says he was expecting the Red Sox to trade him. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz says he was expecting the Red Sox to trade him. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz says he wasn’t surprised when the Red Sox traded him to the Phillies last December. In fact, he was expecting it to happen sooner.

In an appearance on the Bradfo Sho, Buchholz said he knew he was probably going to be dealt when the team acquired Chris Sale.

“I knew when they [traded for] Chris Sale, I knew I was probably the odd man out. That’s just the scenario that popped up,” he said. “I thought if that was going to happen, I thought I was going to go somewhere involving in that trade. And that wasn’t the case. But coming to a place like [Philadelphia], this team’s been really good in the past, and a lot of people think this team is rebuilding, but for me coming in, looking from the outside perspective, there’s a lot of good talent here. I’ve been on teams that aren’t as talented as this team that we did pretty good. So that’s the way I’m looking at it. I’m looking at it as an opportunity to prove a lot of people wrong, and the veteran people in this clubhouse, I think that’s what we’re trying to instill in everybody that’s sitting here right now.”

Few Red Sox players in recent memory were as enigmatic as Buchholz, who was both dazzling and maddening during his decade in Boston. He debuted with a splash, throwing a no-hitter in his first career start against the Orioles in September 2007. But the following season, the right-hander struggled to get hitters out. He posted a a 6.75 ERA in 15 starts and was sent back to the minor leagues.

It was a harbinger of things to come for Buchholz, who made two All-Star appearances with the Red Sox but was also bumped from the rotation on a couple of occasions as well.

“I got sent down to Double-A in the middle of the [2008] season and that was a shell-shock for me,” Buchholz said. “There was only two ways to go about it: Either suck it up, swallow your pride and get better, or you can sulk about it. I felt like I came back from that and that made me a better person, better player, and I think that’s one of the reasons I’m still here today. I know that the bad times don’t necessarily define you as a player or person. You’ve got to learn from them, and I feel like I did a pretty good job of that for the most part. It’s tough to struggle at a game that you’ve never struggled at ever in your life, and that was the shell-shock of it. The first time I ever struggled was in the big leagues, and it’s hard to come back from that. But I found a way to do it, and here I am today.”

As a veteran player on a rebuilding Phillies squad, Buchholz says he hopes he can now be a role model for his younger teammates.

“I was blessed to get the opportunity to [play in Boston],” he said. I thought I knew going into it how hard the game was, but it’s a really humbling game. If you can play in Boston, I think you can pretty much play anywhere –– Boston, New York, where everything is magnified by quite a bit. That’s part of the game, that’s part of the reason why people play the game. You’re going to struggle –– and nobody wants to struggle –– but when the struggles come, it’s how you take it and how you learn from it. That’s the cool thing about being older now and being around the group of guys I’m around now. You’ve got a young crew of guys here, and if I can help in any way –– from my success in the past, from my failures in the past –– if I can try to preach a little bit about how to take it and what to look for and what not to look for, and go from there, that’s why I’m here.”

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, Philadelphia Phillies,
Dave Dombrowski on Clay Buchholz trade: ‘He gets a change of scenery, fresh opportunity’ 12.20.16 at 1:33 pm ET
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Dave Dombrowski

Dave Dombrowski

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski knew he needed to trade a starter this winter, and there was really only one option.

So when the Philadelphia Phillies came calling, Dombrowski pulled the trigger, dealing right-hander Clay Buchholz for minor league second baseman Josh Tobias on Tuesday.

“I think in this case, the timing fit for us,” Dombrowski said. “When we looked at everything, we were in a spot where we had seven established big-league starters, we felt we had a little bit more depth there, we still have some guys that we feel are behind them in [Henry] Owens, [Roenis] Elias and [Brian] Johnson, we got a prospect that we liked, got a club where he can go and start for them, which he wouldn’t necessarily have that opportunity here, so I think everything tied together for us that it made sense doing it now rather than waiting.”

And how did Buchholz take the news?

“I did speak to him,” Dombrowski said. “He was very understanding, thankful. I thanked him for everything he did in the organization while with us. He was understanding of the situation. He was also thankful, appreciative of everything that was done for him throughout the years by everyone in the organization. Enjoyed his time here. He thought maybe it also was a spot where he gets a change of scenery, fresh opportunity. Not always a bad thing, as he mentioned. And that was basically it.”

Clearing Buchholz’s $13.5 million salary puts the Red Sox under the $195 million luxury tax threshold, a goal meant to assure they don’t incur further penalties that hamstring their efforts to rebuild the farm system.

“I think it’s advantageous to be below the CBT just based on the new basic agreement,” Dombrowski said. “It’s something that we were hopeful of doing. It fell into play here very well for us. It’s also a situation where it creates some flexibility for us as we go forward, staying below the CBT with areas we may want to address as the season progresses. Who even knows? Maybe even as the wintertime progresses”

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Dave Dombrowski, MLB trade rumors, Red Sox
Closing Time: Red Sox rally comes up short as Indians complete sweep in ALDS 10.10.16 at 9:51 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz allowed two runs over four innings to take the loss in Game 3 of the ALDS. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz allowed two runs over four innings in Game 3 of the ALDS. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

That certainly wasn’t how things were supposed to go.

After entering the postseason as the favorites in the American League, the Red Sox were swept by the Indians in the best-of-five series, concluding with a 4-3 loss Monday night at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox offensive simply couldn’t get anything going all series long, including Monday as they were shut down by starter Josh Tomlin for a second time in the series.

Tomlin held the Red Sox to two runs over five-plus innings in four hits, while walking one and striking out four. After Tomlin, Andrew Miller didn’t allow a run in his two innings of relief, but the Red Sox did make things interesting in the eighth against Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen.

After a David Ortiz walk with two outs against Allen, Hanley Ramirez ripped a single to left scoring Mookie Betts to make it a 4-3 game and the tying run being at second base, which was when Ortiz was lifted for Marco Hernandez as a pinch-runner to a standing ovation. Xander Bogaerts ripped a line drive, but it was right at the second baseman to end the threat and leave the tying run in scoring position.

In the ninth, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-out single and Dustin Pedroia walked, but Travis Shaw flied out to end it.

Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz avoided trouble in the first three innings, but couldn’t get out of a jam in the fourth. Jose Ramirez led the inning off with a single and was followed by a Lonnie Chisenhall walk. Coco Crisp laid down a perfect bunt to set up second and third with one out and catcher Tyler Naquin delivered with hard single to right to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.

Buchholz was lifted after the inning as he went four innings, allowing the two runs on six hits, while walking one and striking out four.

Drew Pomeranz relieved Buchholz and allowed a crucial, two-run home run to Crisp in the sixth inning, putting the Indians ahead 4-1 at the time. It was Crisp’s second postseason home run of his career.

The Red Sox scored their first run in the fifth. After a Bogaerts one-out single, Andrew Benintendi doubled off the wall to score Bogaerts on a close play at the plate. That would be all they would get in the frame as Sandy Leon and Bradley Jr. were both retired, leaving the tying run at the time on second base.

Tomlin was pulled following a leadoff single in the sixth and in came Miller. The Red Sox did get another run as following a Betts double, Ortiz hit a sacrifice fly to center, but Ramirez then struck out to end the inning.

Closing Time note

The Red Sox led for exactly one inning in the entire series.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Drew Pomeranz, xander bogaerts
Clay Buchholz will rely on past back against the wall experience Sunday vs. Indians 10.08.16 at 6:55 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz will take the ball in Sunday's Game 3. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz will take the ball in Sunday’s Game 3. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz is no stranger to pitching in Game 3 of an ALDS with his team trailing 0-2.

In 2009, the Red Sox trailed the Angels 0-2 and Buchholz got the ball in Game 3. The right-handed pitched well, allowing two runs on six hits in five innings, while walking one and striking out three. He took a no-decision, but the Red Sox lost 7-6, ending their season.

Buchholz, who has the most postseason experience of any Red Sox starter, will rely on the past to help him get through Sunday.

“It’s a baseball game,” Buchholz said. “Like I said, it’s on a little bit bigger stage, but you’ve still got to go out and do the small things that you’re capable of doing, and that’s making pitches whenever they are called upon. You’ve got to minimize the damage.

“I think that’s the biggest key in post-season is whenever some bad situations present themselves, you’ve got to know how to minimize them or get a ground ball when you need it. When you do that, I think that adds to your team coming back in the dugout, to get back in the box and score some runs.”

It’s been an up-and-down year for Buchholz to say the least. He’s gone back-and-forth between the rotation and the bullpen both because of his own performance and due to injuries to other starters.

Buchholz has been in the rotation for the past month or so and has pitched his best baseball of the season. Over his last five starts, he’s 3-0 with a 3.14 ERA.

The right-hander also has enjoyed some postseason success of late. The Red Sox have won each of his last three postseason starts, most recently Game 3 of the 2013 World Series.

It seems only fitting he gets the ball in a must-win game.

“Everybody goes through some struggles at some point at the end of the year,” Buchholz said. “You know, mine were a little bit more extreme than others, but that being said, you know, we’re all here to win games; to play for a championship, and whenever things are going wrong, especially in this atmosphere, this environment, this organization, you’re expected to be really good every time out, and sometimes that can pile up on you.”

“I thought in my mind I would be on the mound in a deciding game, as well,” added Buchholz. “It was a little far-fetched at one point this year, but you know, I’m still here. So I’m excited for the opportunity.”

Manager John Farrell also noted Buchholz’s up-and-down season and was quick to note his resurgence of late, even going as far to say it could be the right-hander’s best stretch of his whole career.

“He’s been very consistent over the past probably six to eight weeks,” Farrell said. “He’s had a resurgence of his own right inside this season. So I don’t think anyone has watched as closely — can fully appreciate all that he’s been through this year, from someone that needed a little bit of a breather from the rotation, worked out some issues while going to the bullpen and has returned and pitching some of the best baseball, I think, in his career.”

Best stretch of his career or not, the Red Sox just need him to be good on Sunday to keep the season going.

Read More: Clay Buchholz,
Trailing Indians 0-2, Red Sox hold team meeting in advance of Sunday’s Game 3 at 4:28 pm ET
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John Farrell wants the Red Sox to get back to playing like they have all season. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

John Farrell wants the Red Sox to get back to playing like they have all season. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

About 24 hours before Game 3 the Red Sox held a team meeting at Fenway Park.

Trailing the Indians 0-2 in a best-of-five series, the Red Sox are one loss away from their season being over. The last thing they want is to be swept.

To get things back on the right track, the team held a meeting Saturday afternoon (players and coaches) with the general message being not to forget what the team accomplished during the season and to start playing like they did over the course of the season. They want to erase the past two games from their minds.

“I think what was discussed a little bit ago was just don’t forget about who we are,” manager John Farrell said. “Don’t forget who you are individually and certainly, what we’ve been as a team. That is where there is a lot of recent history that gives us confidence going into tomorrow.”

Added Clay Buchholz: “It was more of a players meeting. Obviously all the staff was in there, but it was basically a meeting to tell everybody in the clubhouse — the young guys, the veterans that it isn’t about the last two games. Forget about them. Not to worry 24-48 hours ago. That isn’t going to help you moving forward. That was probably the biggest message. Go out and be ourselves. We’re the Boston Red Sox. We know what baseball is about. Our front office and ownership have put a really good team on the field. Up until this point we’ve been a really good baseball team. We won the best division in baseball this year as well. I think that was probably the biggest point, to not forget who we are and play the game.”

The Red Sox have won three of the last six postseason series in which they lost the first two games and in order for it to happen again, it’s going to be because of the team as a whole, not one individual.

“The biggest thing is we have accomplished and experienced everything as a group, everything as a team,” Farrell said. “What we’ve won has been as a team and nights that we don’t, we lose as a team. That meeting included all of us. We’re in this together. We’re in this point being 0-2 not because of one person, area of our team, but collectively. It is going to require that contribution from our group as well to regain some momentum and reverse this. That was something — I think on the flight back last night I’m sure we all shared some similar thoughts individually, and felt it was important to bring those together and not reflect on what has been. We can’t go back there, but yet remain committed on tomorrow.”

Read More: Clay Buchholz, John Farrell,
Clay Buchholz to start Game 3 of ALDS vs. Indians 10.04.16 at 3:33 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz will start Game 3 of the ALDS vs. Cleveland. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz will start Game 3 of the ALDS vs. Cleveland. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Although John Farrell won’t announce the final playoff roster until Thursday morning’s deadline, it’s known who will start Game 3.

Speaking in the clubhouse prior to a workout at Fenway Park on Tuesday, Clay Buchholz said he will be the Game 3 starter.

This means the Red Sox rotation will be Rick Porcello, David Price, Buchholz and Eduardo Rodriguez. It also means Buchholz could be available out of the bullpen in a potential Game 5.

Manager John Farrell wouldn’t confirm it when asked, but also didn’t deny it.

Buchholz bounced back-and-forth between the starting rotation and the bullpen this year, but has been at his best of late as a starter. He is 3-0 in his last five starts with an ERA of 3.14.

“Baseball is a confidence driven game,” Buchholz said. “If you’re confident, you’re a lot better off than being not confident. I got some confidence moving in the right direction.”

One of the biggest reasons for his success down the stretch was an adjustment in his mechanics as he now always pitches from the stretch.

“Moving to the stretch it simplified just about everything I do within the delivery and I didn’t have to think of anything,” he said. “I’ve got a lot more comfortable doing that. That’s probably the one thing that has pushed me forward.”

Overall in 2016, Buchholz is 8-10 with a 4.78 ERA in 21 starts and 16 relief appearances.

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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Bryan Mitchell 09.28.16 at 10:32 am ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

The Red Sox will take a second shot at clinching the AL East when they send Clay Buchholz out against Yankees right-hander Bryan Mitchell on Wednesday night in the Bronx.

Buchholz is 8-10 with a 5.00 ERA and a 1.365 WHIP in 36 games (20 starts). On Wednesday, the 32-year-old right-hander went seven strong innings, giving up just one run, three hits and two walks with four strikeouts in a 5-1 win over the Orioles.

“I’ve been here before,” Buchholz said (via MLB.com). “I knew I wasn’t going to be bad all year. It was a stretch that I didn’t really know what was going on. I didn’t know how to fix it. I was trying too hard and overdoing a lot of things, overanalyzing. Yeah, it takes a couple of games to get some confidence going in the right direction. It’s fun pitching when everything is going good, especially when you’re winning.”

Against the Yankees, Buchholz is 6-9 with a 5.99 ERA and a 1.637 WHIP in 19 games (18 starts). In two games (one start) against New York this season, he is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.350 WHIP. His lone start vs. the Yankees came on Sept. 16, when he pitched six innings, allowing two runs, seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts in a 7-4 Sox win.

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Read More: Bryan Mitchell, Clay Buchholz,
Closing Time: Andrew Benintendi homers, Red Sox capitalize on error in win over Orioles 09.21.16 at 10:15 pm ET
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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (15) soars over Baltimore's Jonathan Schoop (on Wednesday. (Evan Habeeb/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (15) soars over Baltimore’s Jonathan Schoop (on Wednesday. (Evan Habeeb/USA Today Sports)

Suddenly, the Magic Number is six. Can anyone stop the Red Sox?

Saving their best baseball for the absolute right time of the year, the Red Sox capitalized on a huge error by Orioles first baseman Chris Davis to score five runs in the sixth, erase a 1-0 deficit, and cruise to a 5-1 victory.

The team’s seventh straight win left it on the cusp of completing its second straight four-game sweep, coming on the heels of four wins over the Yankees at Fenway Park. The seven-game winning streak is a season-high.

This one was in the balance until the sixth, when Sandy Leon grounded to Davis with the bases loaded and two outs. Instead of under-handing to pitcher Brad Brach covering, Davis threw a seed that eluded the pitcher, allowing two runs to score.

One pitch later, rookie Andrew Benintendi drilled a three-run homer over the right field fence to give the Red Sox a comfortable lead they would not relinquish.

Right-hander Clay Buchholz, making a bid for the final spot in the postseason rotation, stymied the O’s for seven innings, allowing three hits and one run, striking out four. The only Orioles run came on an Adam Jones sacrifice fly in the third. Otherwise, Buchholz cruised while improving to 8-10 and lowering his ERA to 5.00.

Coupled with Toronto’s loss in Seattle, the Red Sox opened a five-game lead over the Blue Jays and six games over the Orioles in the AL East. Their magic number now stands at six with 10 games to play, which should allow manager John Farrell to rest regulars down the stretch.

The Red Sox will try to complete the sweep on Thursday.

Closing Time note

The Red Sox have won Clay Buchholz’s last five starts. He’s 4-0 with a 3.09 ERA in his last six.

Read More: Andrew Benintendi, Clay Buchholz, Orioles, Red Sox
Wednesday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Ubaldo Jimenez at 8:38 am ET
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With the Red Sox riding a six-game winning streak, Clay Buchholz will take on right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez in the second game of the Red Sox-Orioles four-game set.

Buchholz is 7-10 with a 5.20 ERA and a 1.401 WHIP in 35 games (19 starts). On Friday he threw six innings, allowing two runs, seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts in a 7-4 win over the Yankees.

“I thought he made a couple of really good fastball pitches in to [Gary] Sanchez for a couple of ground-ball double plays early on,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He’d bend a little bit but stayed away from the big inning. He gave ourselves a chance to get the offense on track, and then we had a very good offensive night overall.”

Against Baltimore, the right-hander is 10-7 with a 3.90 ERA and a 1.372 WHIP in 22 games (19 starts). This year he is 0-2 against the Orioles with a 6.35 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP in three games (one start). The last time he saw the Orioles was in June. In that relief appearance, he threw three innings, allowing no runs, two hits and no walks with four strikeouts. Buchholz’s last start against Baltimore came in April. He threw five innings, allowing five runs, five hits (two home runs) and three walks with five strikeouts in a 9-5 Sox loss.

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Would Clay Buchholz be No. 3 starter candidate in postseason? 09.16.16 at 11:56 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz has pitched well of late. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Clay Buchholz has pitched well of late and could be making a case to start in the postseason. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

It’s been a roller coaster of a season for Clay Buchholz.

His past three outings have been his fourth stint in the starting rotation as because of performance and injuries, Buchholz has gone back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen.

As the Red Sox continue to search for a dependable No. 3 starter, Buchholz is the only pitcher pitching like he wants it.

Buchholz was solid on Friday night to earn the win in the Red Sox’ 7-4 victory over the Yankees. He went six innings, allowed two runs on seven hits, while walking two and striking out two. He picked up his first win at Fenway Park since May 9.

“Not as many walks – the two walks that I did have, found a way to minimize them, had a couple of double plays that helped out,” Buchholz said. “Defense played really good behind me again tonight. It was a grind.i felt like they put up some really tough at-bats together. With that win, its a big win given the situation that we’re in.”

Although he didn’t have a clean inning all night, his ability to pitch out of jams was what made him so effective.

“I thought he did a very good job with men on base,” manager John Farrell said. “He created a couple of jams for himself, but to the left-handers he was able to go to a couple of changeups to get some soft contact. I thought he made a couple of really good fastball pitches in to [Gary] Sanchez for a couple of groundball double plays early on. He’d bend a little bit, but stayed away from the big inning.”

Besides his rough outing in Toronto last Sunday, Buchholz allowed one run over 6 2/3 innings against the Padres on Sept. 6 and then was good again Friday. Prior to the Padres start, he allowed one earned run in each of his prior two starts, so he’s been solid as a starter for well over a month.

Over his last five starts he has an ERA of 3.94, which includes the six runs over three innings against the Blue Jays.

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