“FENWAY'S BEST PLAYERS”
"Clay Buchholz" was born on August 14, 1984 is a starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball. Raised in Lumberton, Texas, Buchholz played baseball for the local youth baseball leagues, and then for the Lumberton High School Raiders. Buchholz began his college career in 2004 at McNeese State University. Buchholz then transferred to Angelina College. In 2005, while competing for the Roadrunners, Buchholz appeared in 15 games, winning 12 and losing 1. His 1.05 ERA, seven complete games, and 129 strikeouts all stand as team records (through the 2010 season). He was also named an All-American in 2005.
Buchholz was drafted by the Red Sox in the supplemental first round of the 2005 draft. The Red Sox obtained their supplemental pick, the 42nd overall, as compensation for losing free agent Pedro Martínez to the New York Mets. Buchholz pitched 41 1⁄3 innings for the Lowell Spinners of the New York-Penn League, compiling a record of 0–1 with 45 strikeouts in 15 starts. He then pitched for the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Class-A Advanced) and the Greenville Drive (Class-A). Between the two teams, Buchholz struck out 140 and walked 33 in 119 innings while going 11–4.
He started his first spring training game in 2007 against the Tampa Bay Rays. While competing for the Portland Sea Dogs in 2007, Buchholz played in fifteen games, winning 7 and losing 2. His success led him to be chosen to play in the All-Star Futures Game at AT&T Park.
Buchholz was promoted to the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Triple-A affiliate of the Red Sox, on July 8, 2007. He finished the Triple-A season with a 1–-L record, while recording 55 strikeouts, 13 walks, and a 3.96 era over eight starts in 38 2⁄3 Triple-A innings.
He made his Major League debut with the Boston Red Sox against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on August 17, 2007 at Fenway Park. The Sox won the game 8–4 and he picked up the win, going six innings and giving up four runs (three earned). After the game, however, Buchholz was optioned to the Sox' Triple-A team in Pawtucket.
In only his second career major league start on September 1, 2007, he became the first Boston Red Sox rookie to throw a no-hitter when he blanked the Baltimore Orioles 10–0. He threw 115 pitches, struck out nine, walked three, and hit Nick Markakis. Buchholz became the third pitcher since 1900 to pitch a no-hitter in his first or second major league start. Bobo Holloman did it in his first start on May 6, 1953, for the St. Louis Browns at home against the Philadelphia Athletics, and Wilson Alvarez did it in his second start on August 11, 1991, for the Chicago White Sox at Baltimore. He became the eleventh Red Sox pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Fenway Park history, and the seventeenth in Red Sox history.
Following the game, general manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona each independently confirmed that they had spoken by phone to each other in the seventh and eighth innings concerning Buchholz' pitch count. He had not thrown more than 98 pitches in a game all year, and was threatening to significantly exceed that total if he finished the game. Epstein reported that in no way would Buchholz have been allowed to face a batter after reaching 120 pitches, expressing concern about excessive pitches potentially damaging such a young and inexperienced arm. Buchholz finished the game with 115 pitches, allowing Francona to escape what would have been an unpleasant decision to remove a pitcher from the game in which he was throwing a no-hitter.
His no-hitter was the third of a record-setting four caught by Jason Varitek. The first two were for Hideo Nomo and Derek Lowe (in which the final score was also 10–0); the fourth was Jon Lester's on May 19, 2008, against the Kansas City Royals, which was also the first no-hitter in major league play after Buchholz'.
Buchholz pitched in two more games after the no-hitter, earning a win while pitching three innings of relief at Baltimore on September 6, and taking a loss after a start of 4 2⁄3 innings at Toronto on September 19.
When Buchholz experienced shoulder fatigue, Red Sox management made a decision to shut him down for 2007. He was left off the postseason roster but was still eligible to receive his first championship ring as the Red Sox eventually won the 2007 World Series in a 4-game sweep over the Colorado Rockies.
Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell stated that Buchholz would most likely be in line for 180–190 innings in the 2008 season. On May 15, Buchholz was placed on the 15-day disabled list as the result of a torn fingernail. He was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket following the injury, and remained there for several weeks to work on his fastball. On July 11, he was recalled to Boston and was part of their regular pitching rotation, though he did not record a single win after his return. On August 20, as the Red Sox were trying to sweep the Orioles, the team that Buchholz had no-hit the preceding year, he gave up a 4–0 lead by allowing three runs in the second inning and two more in the third. He was removed after only pitching 2 1⁄3 innings. In his previous start, he had only lasted three innings. In 2008, the Red Sox were 3–12 in Buchholz' fifteen starts. After the game, Buchholz was demoted to Double-A Portland. Buchholz stated "I've never had a streak like this," and "I've never been one to say the pressure was too much for me, but I've felt like I've had a lot of weight on my shoulders just trying to be perfect and trying to do everything as well as I could to help this team win".Following the 2008 season, Buchholz pitched in the Arizona Fall League.
Following spring training, Buchholz was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. In his eighth start at Pawtucket in 2009, Buchholz took a perfect game into the ninth inning against the Louisville Bats, but it was denied after a leadoff single; ultimately, he pitched a one-hit shutout. After a July 12 win before the All-Star break, Red Sox manager Terry Francona announced that Buchholz would be activated to pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 17, in order to give more time off to the starters who were in the All-Star game. Buchholz went on to win the game, pitching five and two thirds innings, allowing four hits with one run, while walking three and striking out three. It was his first major league win since May 2, 2008.
The Red Sox pitching staff floundered in the second half of the year. Wakefield, Beckett and Lester were the only dependable starters in the first half (John Smoltz, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Brad Penny all had losing records). While Lester remained effective in the second half, Beckett began to struggle, and when All-Star Tim Wakefield was placed on the disabled list, Buchholz replaced him in the rotation. Buchholz' pitching down the stretch played a large role in helping the Red Sox make it into the playoffs (along with a strong return from Matsuzaka). He finished the season 7–4 with a 4.21 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 16 starts.
Buchholz delivered a strong first half of the 2010 season. On the strength of his 10–4 record, and a 2.45 ERA, he was selected to the American League All-Star Team. In the month of June, Buchholz went 3–1 with a 1.84 ERA, including a five-hit shutout at Baltimore on June 4 — his first shutout since his 2007 no-hitter. On the road in the season's first half, he went 5–1 with a 1.70 ERA. Though earning a spot on the roster, Buchholz was not called upon to pitch in the All-Star Game; he pulled a hamstring June 26 during an interleague game against the San Francisco Giants and was placed on the disabled list.
He made his first start after his stint on the DL on July 21 against Gio Gonzalez of the Oakland Athletics, pitching four innings, giving up five earned runs, with two strikeouts and three walks in a 6–4 loss. Buchholz returned to his pre-injury form after the start in Oakland by going 4–0 in August with a 1.03 ERA and winning the AL pitcher of the month award. Buchholz finished the season with a 17–7 record and 2.33 ERA, thereby finishing second in ERA to Felix Hernandez. Buchholz finished sixth in the voting for the American League Cy Young Award, also won by Hernandez.
Buchholz began the season as the number three starter in the Red Sox rotation. On April 10, he signed a 4-year contract extension, worth nearly $30 million. On June 16, he went on the disabled list unexpectedly and in August it was reported that he had a stress fracture in his back. He then missed the rest of the season. In 2011, Buchholz made 14 starts going 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA.
Buchholz started the 2012 season 8-2, winning four consecutive decisions. However, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list after he was hospitalized with a "gastrointestinal situation," stated then-manager Bobby Valentine. On August 16, Buchholz pitched an immaculate inning against the Baltimore Orioles in the sixth inning. He went on to win the game 6-3 in eight innings of work. On June 26, he was diagnosed with esophagitis, an inflammation that damages tissues of the esophagus. For the 2012 year, Buchholz made 29 starts with an 11-8 record and a 4.56 ERA.
On April 14, 2013 Buchholz took a no-hitter into the top of the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays before allowing a hit. Buchholz went on to finish the month of April with a 5-0 record, followed by picking up his sixth win in his first start of May. This made his ERA in those six starts 1.01, to go with a win in every appearance. In April he was named Pitcher of the Month along with Matt Harvey. Buchholz was placed on the disabled list on June 18 due to a neck strain that had been bothering him since June 9, causing him to be out until September 10. Buchholz won 3 of his 4 starts after returning from injury, finishing the regular season with a record of 12-1. In the postseason, Buchholz made 4 starts despite re-aggravating his shoulder injury and won his second World Series ring when the Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in six games.
in 2014, after supposedly sleeping funny while holding his daughter, his neck, shoulder, collarbone, and joint ailments cost him three months of the season. At the All-Star Break, many began questioning his mental toughness when he suggested the Red Sox were ready for him to return to the mound, free of risk, but he wasn’t comfortable pitching with discomfort. He was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 12 starts to that point.
Buchholz started the 2016 season as the team's fifth starter. Through the first 24 games of the season, the Sox were 0-5 when he started, and 14-5 otherwise. That was hard to ignore, as was his 6.51 earned run average. It was even harder to watch with only two of 10 starts lasting at least seven innings. It was evident Buchholz was struggling.
Accordingly, Red Sox manager John Farrell had to make a move. He optioned Buchholz to the bullpen. The move to the bullpen, from a statistical standpoint, was a good one. In five appearances Buchholz posted a record of 1-1 with an ERA of 2.89.
Farrell gave Buchholz another shot in the rotation. Unfortunately, Buchholz couldn't carry his success in the bullpen over to a starting role and would lose his next three opportunities on the hill. In those three starts, he posted an ERA just above 6.00. There was speculation that he might have come back too soon and the stats from his last two starts back it up. He had posted an ERA slightly above 8.00 and did not come away with a win.