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News » Boston Red Sox Inside Pitch 2008-07-12

Boston Red Sox Inside Pitch 2008-07-12

Boston Red Sox Inside Pitch 2008-07-12
Though the Red Sox front office would never slap this unfair tag on him, 23-year-old Clay Buchholz could be the X-factor for the Sox during the second half of the season.

The young righty has retooled his delivery and slightly altered his arm slot, and the results speak for themselves. The minor adjustments along with renewed dedication to his fastball have brought the heater back into the 93-96 mph range that Buchholz boasted while climbing up through the ranks.

Buchholz was fighting jitters in the first inning, but settled down and showed vastly improved velocity, a wipeout curveball and a Bugs Bunny change-up that allowed him to fan six Orioles batters during Friday night's loss. The overall stat line wasn't all that impressive for the Sox phenom in earning his fourth loss on the season, but Sox officials were encouraged by his first big-league start since May 12.

"There's a lot to like with this kid," said Sox manager Terry Francona. "I thought his fastball had some explosion on it, and he threw with some finish and some really good velocity along with a really good off-speed pitch."

Add the finish on his fastball to the already-advanced curveball and change-up that were featured steadily during his Sept. 1 no-hitter at Fenway last season, and you're talking about a potential weapon in Boston's starting rotation.

As Francona said, there's a lot to like about Clay Buchholz.

ORIOLES 7, RED SOX 3: RHP Clay Buchholz coughed up a pair of runs and threw 29 pitches in a laborious first inning, but eventually settled down and allowed four runs during his five innings of work. RHP Manny Delcarmen surrendered two more in the eighth to push the game out of reach, and SS Julio Lugo drove in a season-high two runs in defeat.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: July 12, 2008

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