ANAHEIM, Calif. — How much more can he do? Clay Buchholz has been out of control on the mound lately, in a good way. Buchholz struck out 11 batters over eight scoreless innings in this morning’s start against Toledo. He allowed just four hits in his outing, and walked no one.
Buchholz now has a 1.03 ERA in six starts over 35 innings. He’s allowed just 16 hits and four earned runs with 37 strikeouts and 10 walks. Batters are hitting .130 against him. Over his last 20 1/3 innings, Buchholz hasn’t allowed a run, and has struck out 25 batters.
But there’s also no spot for him in the rotation at the moment, despite the fact that the Sox starters are at the bottom of the American League in ERA.
“There’s an aspect of this that he has no control over,” Sox director of player development Mike Hazen said this afternoon. “He’s upholding his end of the deal. He’s putting the pressure on and forcing his way. It’s a long baseball season. Something’s going to happen. He’s doing well.”
So is there anything the team needs to see from Buchholz at this point, either on or off the field?
“He’s been ultra-impressive from spring training on,” Hazen said. “What we saw in spring training he’s carried right on through. He’s become one of the hardest workers on that team. He has worked on everything that has been asked of him. Then there’s just that last piece of opportunity.
“He’s been at Triple A before. He’s been sent down before. He’s been up-and-down. The opportunity thing is not new. I think this can be probably a frustrating aspect of the game, when sort of the opportunity — when you believe you’re ready and when the opportunity matches up. Sometimes those can be a little frustrating. But he’s done a great job. He has worked his butt off. It’s good to see.”