BOSTON -- On May 26, Clay Buchholz and his 6.35 ERA were on the way out of the Red Sox’ starting rotation -- and thought to be shipped out of Boston altogether.
Now, four and a half months later, the Red Sox are teetering on the brink of elimination, with the hopes that he can be the team’s savior.
However, this isn’t a complete surprise to Buchholz -- although he might’ve thought it would’ve happened to get into the playoffs or maybe after the ALDS.
Why isn’t he shocked like everyone else? Because Dustin Pedroia told him something like this would happen when the righty was at his worst.
“Pee-Wee has been here longer than I have . . . sometimes you just need to let somebody know it’s all going to work out in the end,” Buchholz said. “It might not be working out right now, but it’s going to work out in the end and I think that’s where he was going with that.
“I thought that in my mind I would be on the mound in a deciding game, as well. It was a little farfetched at one point this year, but, you know, I’m still here. So I’m excited for the opportunity.”
Buchholz probably should’ve asked his second baseman for lottery numbers that day, too. Given it came around the “peak” of his struggles, the thought probably didn’t enter his mind.
Either way, Buchholz now has to right the ship after Rick Porcello and David Price couldn’t get the job done. Two guys that he told CSNNE he expected to “lead the way” in mid-September.
“My approach is not gong to change,” Buchholz said. “Rick, the ball was flying out of Cleveland obviously. It was flying out more than I ever remember it flying.
“My approach is to go out and attack the strike zone. If you have to work on a couple of guys, like I said, pitch around them if it presents itself and do that. But try to command the strike zone and we’ll go over the lineup tomorrow whenever we get it.”
Although Terry Francona won’t be on same side as Buchholz Sunday, his old manager gave the righty as good a compliment as he could, given the circumstances.
“He's met some challenges this year, I'm sure he's pretty proud of them,” Francona said. “And if I wasn't in a different uniform I would say even more, because our responsibility, our challenge is to beat him [Sunday], but it doesn't take away from the fondness.
“I saw this kid come up from Double A and make his first major league start. I saw [his wife] Lindsay [Buchholz] in the hallway yesterday, I've known him since he's a pup and he's one of my favorite guys. So, again that doesn't mean we're not going to try to beat his brains out, but it also doesn't take away from how much you think of somebody.”