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Buchholz throws in his two cents on fold

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / October 21, 2011

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Clay Buchholz shed some more light on the collapse of the Red Sox yesterday, agreeing with the notion that the pitchers did not work as hard for Curt Young as they did for former pitching coach John Farrell.

Farrell left the Red Sox after the 2010 season to become the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. Under Young, the Sox starters were 4-13 with a 7.08 earned run average in September as the team lost a nine-game lead on a playoff spot.

“It was a different personality,’’ Buchholz told WEEI radio. “Curt’s a really laid-back guy. I don’t have anything bad to say about Curt. He was a really cool dude. He talked to me every time I needed to talk.

“Just two different personalities.’’

Young has been given permission by the Red Sox to interview with the Oakland Athletics. He spent seven years as Oakland’s pitching coach before joining the Red Sox, and indications are that he will return to that organization. Young has a year remaining on his contract with the Red Sox but is unlikely to be retained.

Buchholz said he was baffled at the team’s demise.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,’’ he said. “The big problem with this team this year was that everybody knew how good we were on paper, best team in baseball probably in the last 10 years or whatever.

“To a certain extent, especially when we were playing like the best team in baseball, we’d step on the field and go win a game. Even me, sitting on the bench and watching these [September] games, I was like, ‘What’s going on? How are we losing these games?’ ’’

Buchholz also joined Jon Lester in admitting that he drank beer during games.

“Yeah, it did [happen],’’ Buchholz said. “It wasn’t to the extent that it’s being told right now.

“The whole beer thing, it was more of a rally-beer thing. And yeah, it might not have been right, but I feel like there have been other teams in baseball that have gone through stuff like that.

“Not to say it wasn’t a big deal, because it was a mistake - grown men shouldn’t be making those decisions like that during a baseball game, but like I said before, you’ve got to live with what you’ve done and learn from it.

“I’m sure it’s not going to happen again because it’s a lot bigger right now than everybody ever thought it would be.’’

Buchholz said the pitchers were never told that was against the rules.

He also said there was “a little bit of shock’’ when he heard that clubhouse issues played a large role in Terry Francona’s departure as manager.

“I had to sit there and just sort of think about it for a little bit,’’ he said. “At the same time, it’s the same way with the players. Players get shipped out every day from different teams. It’s a business.

“But every time I needed something from Tito, he was there when I had something to say, so no ill will there at all.’’

Buchholz defended Francona, but only to a point.

“I don’t know if anybody took advantage of him,’’ he said. “I think he treated everybody like a man, like they wanted to be treated. Maybe some of the decisions that were made were not the right ones, but you’ve got to live with your mistakes and learn from them and move on.

“Something happened, it was a business move, I believe, and sometimes you’ve got to part ways.’’

Buchholz praised Josh Beckett, whose reputation has been muddied by the beer scandal.

“If anything, I would think Josh Beckett was different in a good way this year,’’ Buchholz said. “He’s one of the guys I’ve looked up to. He’s just got that killer mentality of going out and winning the game, and he’s really in a bad mood if he doesn’t win a game.

“He’s one of the hardest workers. I’m not saying it because he’s my teammate trying to cover his butt. He was in the clubhouse early, getting his work done, ran, did all his stuff. He was the best pitcher on our team this year.

“He’s getting blamed for a lot of stuff, but he was the best pitcher on team.’’

Buchholz was 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA over 14 starts, his season coming to an end in June because of a back injury. He started throwing again in September but did not get into a game.

Once the season was over, Buchholz went to Florida to throw “six or seven’’ innings and felt fine. He expects to be fully healthy for spring training.

“I’m going to prepare better this offseason to be ready for all 162 games,’’ Buchholz said.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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