Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How Should We Read The Last Buchholz Start?

Clay Buchholz has—on balance—had a pretty good Spring. He's pitched ten innings, given up nine hits and delivered a 1.80 ERA. He's walked only two and struck out twelve. All this in the midst of the great We Don't Have A Number One Starter controversy. And yet, in yesterday's outing there were some troubling signs. Granted, he struck out six batters in just two innings—but he also gave up a lot of "hard contact" with a fastball that seemed to top-out in the high 80s. He gave up four runs (two earned) on five hits. So, what does all this mean? While Clay's history of breakdown could certainly send up red flags, our view is less alarmist. Scouts will tell you that around this time in Spring Training, pitchers go through a "dead arm" period—where their fastball tends to lose a few miles per hour. That's probably what happened yesterday. And the fact that Buchholz had enough on his pitches to strike out six has to bode well. Breathe deep, step out and enjoy the 15 degree wind chill (Spring is Friday).