Scuffling Buchholz might not make next start

Right-hander allows six early runs as season ERA balloons to 7.02

Scuffling Buchholz might not make next start

ATLANTA -- After Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz had another decidedly subpar performance Monday, there is no guarantee he will make his next start.

"We've got to look at this a little bit closer and there's no determination on five days from now," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We've got to continue to talk about what he's currently going through and what's best for him and certainly what's best for us."

Of Buchholz's 10 starts, he has gone fewer than five innings five times while allowing five runs or more on four occasions.

He might have hit rock bottom in this one, walking a career-high eight over just three-plus innings. Buchholz gave up four hits and six runs while striking out four.

The righty, who was arguably the best pitcher in the American League last year at this time, has a 7.02 ERA. The Red Sox came back from a 6-1 deficit and beat the Braves, 8-6, to snap a 10-game losing streak.

Buchholz has been working on a lot of mechanical tweaks of late and felt great in the bullpen warming up. It didn't translate during the game.

"It's a lot easier in the bullpen. When you're out there thinking about getting big league hitters out and thinking about three different types of mechanics that you were doing in the bullpens, it makes it that much harder," Buchholz said. "This game doesn't need to be any harder than it already is. It's pretty tough, even for the young guys that are out there playing. It's something I have to get through."

The righty hopes he will make his next start, but knows that decision isn't in his hands.

"I'm going to take the ball whenever they give it to me," said Buchholz. "I'm never beaten before I step on the field. It seems to snowball on me right now as far as getting out there and giving up a couple hits in a row, it's one of the things I've dealt with throughout the season so far. I'm going to take the ball whenever they give it to me."

Buchholz and the club continue to maintain there are no physical ailments for the righty.

The Red Sox have seen Buchholz at his best, and have the belief he can get back to that point.

"When you're not clicking on all cylinders and you don't have all your stuff, it's tough to pitch," said Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves. "Of course there's an issue of confidence and how good he feels. Sometimes you see it in the bullpen, and you're hoping during the game. It was a challenge for him.

"He needs to understand that he will climb, it will come. It's just a matter of -- we're not expecting him to be Cy Young. We just expect him to be more consistent in the strike zone and be able to throw all his pitches for strikes, like he normally does."

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.