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Clay Buchholz lacking usual fastball velocity early in Game 4

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

Clay Buchholz does not look like himself in Game 4 on Sunday.
Clay Buchholz does not look like himself in Game 4 on Sunday. (USATSI)

Coming into his Game 4 start, Clay Buchholz and the Red Sox did not hide the fact that the right-hander was less than 100 percent physically. He's been battling something that has been described as fatigue and shoulder soreness, which are pretty vague terms.

Needless to say, all eyes were on Buchholz at the outset of Game 4, and what he showed in the first inning was not encouraging:

One pitch at 90 mph, one pitch at 89 mph, the rest at 88 or below. Buchholz averaged 91.9 mph with his fastball during the regular season.
• Buchholz tends to go fastball heavy the first time through the order before breaking out his offspeed stuff later in the game, but he threw all six of his pitches (four-seamer, two-seamer, cutter, splitter, curve, changeup) in the first inning. He held nothing back.
Thirteen total pitches and zero swings and misses. Nothing particularly close to a batter looking fooled, even.

PitchFX classified some of Buchholz's fastballs as changeups, giving you an idea of how little he has on the ball right now. I suppose the good news is that he retired all three men he faced with none of the three balls being particularly hard hit. Given what he showed in the first inning, I'm guessing the hard hit balls will show up eventually.

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