FORT MYERS, Fla. — Clay Buchholz has a free and easy delivery, which is deceiving because nothing comes free on a major league mound and nothing is easy about pitching in the klieg light crucible of Boston.
Buchholz has learned — and lived — both of those truisms since his All-Star 2010 season, when he went 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA, which trailed only American League Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez. Buchholz has won 17 games combined since, including an 11-8 record last year.
We’re long past the deluded and antediluvian notion of measuring pitchers by their win-loss records. This is the age of pitching statistical enlightenment. But the fact remains a season that was supposed to be a launching pad for Buchholz has turned into a failure to launch.
It’s no secret that if the Red Sox are to restore the faith and erase the aftertaste of their 69-93 last-place finish in the AL East, both Buchholz and Jon Lester must go from wild cards to aces. Lester and Buchholz will be the weather vanes of the 2013 Red Sox. If they’re pointed in the right direction, then so are the Red Sox.
Part of the reason the Sox hired former Boston pitching coach John Farrell as manager was to “fix” Lester and Buchholz.
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