Saturday, September 1, 2007

Clay Buchholtz

In April of 1967, Billy Rohr of the Red Sox flirted with a no-hitter in his first major league start, in Yankee Stadium. Carl Yastrzemski made a memorable, diving catch in left to open the ninth and preserve the no-hit attempt. Two batters later, Elston Howard killed Rohr’s bid for baseball history with a clean single to right.

Tonight, Clay Buchholtz finished the job, in his second major league start! I really don’t believe I’ve ever seen a better pitched game in my life. Clemens’ two 20 K games, Pedro’s 17 strikeout, 1-hit masterpiece in Yankee Stadium, Hideo Nomo and Derek Lowe’s no-no’s, Curt Schilling’s 1-hitter earlier this year, they were all outstanding. This one certainly sits up there in the pantheon. Buchholtz’s offspeed stuff, especially his nasty changeup, made him literally unhittable. It should also be noted that Jason Varitek called a great game, and he once again showed why he’s the best in the business.

The irony is that if Tim Wakefield hadn’t been hurt, tonight probably never would have happened. What’s reassuring for the future is that Buchholtz’s performance tonight wasn’t a freak occurrence. He has legitimate major league stuff, with three “plus” pitches: his fastball, curve and especially his changeup are all much better than average, and should seriously concern future Red Sox opponents. World, meet Clay Buchholtz. He could be around, making your life miserable, for a long time…..

Just imagine, Red Sox fans: Next year’s rotation is likely to be:
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Josh Beckett
Clay Buchholtz
Tim Wakefield
John Lester

With Manny Delcarmen and Hideki Okajima helping to set up for Jonathan Papelbon.

Of course, we should enjoy the rest of this year first, I think. I’m going to be at Fenway with my stepson Marc on Monday, probably seeing Dice K, who also isn’t a bad rookie.

No comments: