Monday, August 11, 2008

The True Psychology of the Wild Buchholz

If this report is true and Manny really wants to go to the Yankees, he knows what will happen any time he comes to Fenway. If he's happy with shooting his Boston legacy in the foot, more power to him.

I was just wondering recently what happened to Devern Hansack; now it looks like he might be taking Wakefield's rotation spot for his next two appearances. An ERA over four in the minors ain't no great shakes, but the WHIP and K/BB ratios both look pretty good. We can certainly use the rotation help right now...

Speaking of which: let's talk (some more) about Clay Buchholz. We know he's unlucky; that statistic hasn't changed since last week. What's caught my eye this week was the Globe's article/interview with the troubled pitcher, which focuses on Buchholz's bad habit of relying on his offspeed pitches to get him out of trouble. Hitters around the league know this habit; they watch and wait for the offspeed stuff like music fans counting the days until Scott Weiland's latest tumble off the wagon, and they let it go flying by. Very quickly, Clay gets into bad counts, everyone starts thinking fastball and next thing we know, he's blowing through three run leads. Clearly the situation requires a new strategy, but unlike Robin I don't think Clay's goose is cooked just yet: no one denies that his stuff works really, really well when it's in the right sequence...and we all know he knows how to sequence properly. The trick is to adjust the sequence, to get, as Buchholz put it himself, "ahead in the count a bit more often where they don't have a choice to swing at off-speed stuff." It'd be great if he could do so this year, but like Lester in 2007, I think the adjustments will take a few months to really take effect.