Red Sox feel fixing delivery key for Buchholz

Farrell, Nieves working to help right-hander shake early-season struggles

Red Sox feel fixing delivery key for Buchholz

BOSTON -- The early-season slump of Clay Buchholz is not something the Red Sox are taking lightly. Following Wednesday's loss by the right-hander, manager John Farrell and pitching coach Juan Nieves labored over game film looking for answers.

"Well, we spent quite a bit of time here last night doing just that," Farrell said. "There are some things we need to work on from a delivery standpoint. Physically there are no complaints. There are no restrictions. And yet we've got to get him in a position in his delivery more consistently."

Prior to Thursday's game, Farrell and Nieves took their findings and discussed them with Buchholz, hoping it might help the righty have an improved outing on Monday in Atlanta.

"Well, he's not repeating his delivery right now," Farrell said. "So when he's making mistakes, he's been up in the strike zone or he's been in the middle of the plate. And last night, more than we've seen this season, he pitched behind in the count a lot. And again, that's from repeating a delivery, or lack of repeating his delivery as much as needed."

How is Buchholz holding up from a mental standpoint?

"He knows he's better," Farrell said. "He's disappointed in what's taken place so far. There have been glimpses, or there have been individual games where it's been more Clay-like. He knows he's got to improve."

At this time last year, Buchholz was arguably the best pitcher in the American League. Through his first nine starts of 2013, Buchholz was 6-0 with a 1.78 ERA. This year, Buchholz is 2-4 with a 6.32 ERA through the same amount of starts.

"Yeah, he's not in the most confident state as we've seen," Farrell said. "If you compare right now to this time last year, there's some differences. Gradually, pitch by pitch, not to be cliché, but pitch by pitch we have to rebuild that confidence."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.