Clay Buchholz made his third start of the season on Monday night at Lehigh Valley and reminded everyone in attendance that there isn’t a pitcher in minor league baseball with better stuff.
His fastball hit 97 on the stadium radar gun, and he was getting numerous swings and misses on all four of his pitches (fastball, curve, slider, and changeup). In six innings, Clay allowed three hits, walked one, and struck out seven (six swinging and one looking on a nasty curve).
Unfortunately, he made one mistake — a 2-0 fastball that John Mayberry Jr. hit out of the yard to tie the game at one in the 5th inning, and the IronPigs eventually beat the PawSox 2-1 in 12 innings.
Still, it was a treat to watch. Clay’s next start will be at McCoy Stadium on Sunday if you would like to see for yourself.
(Although be prepared to stay awhile. All three of Clay’s starts have gone to extra innings this year).
* * * * *
Quite a weekend for Michael Bowden huh?
On Saturday night around midnight, manager Ron Johnson called Bowden on his cell phone to tell him he needed to be on a plane in a few hours to report to Fenway Park for Sunday night’s game against the Yankees.
“I was already under the covers in bed, flipping through the channels, and I actually missed RJ’s call,” Bowden told me. “I usually don’t listen to my voicemails right away, but for some reason I decided to listen to that one and it was RJ telling me to call him right back. When I called him he told me I was going to Boston, but there was a pretty good chance I wouldn’t get to pitch – it was an emergency-type thing. At 1 o’clock in the morning they brought me my stuff from the clubhouse, and at 9:30 I was on an airplane ready to go.”
Bowden was the first player to arrive in the Red Sox clubhouse that afternoon and said his teammates were surprised to see him. Shortly after that, he got a surprise from Terry Francona.
“I went into his office to say hi and thank him for the opportunity and he said there was a 95 % chance I would pitch that night in relief,” Bowden said with a laugh.
Red Sox fans know how it turned out. The 22-year-old righty tossed two scoreless innings against the Yankees to help Boston complete a 3-game sweep and a perfect 9-0 homestand.
“It was one of the most bone-chilling things I’ve ever experienced,” Bowden said. “I said after my major league debut that it was a dream come true, but experiencing that atmosphere against the New York Yankees. . .close game. . .packed house. . .Sunday night on ESPN. . .it was just an unbelievable experience. I can’t even describe it.”
Immediately after the game he was optioned right back to Pawtucket. The same thing happened last August after Bowden beat the White Sox in his major league debut.
“We were joking around in the clubhouse today that I have 11 hours of major league service time and I have a win and a hold,” Bowden said. “Both of my trips have been quick, but I’ll take it.”
He’ll be back. Eventually for good.
* * * * *
After a sizzling start, Hyder has dropped to 7-7 in “Stump Steve.”
On Monday in honor of Clay Buchholz — the only rookie in Red Sox history to throw a no-hitter — we played “2 Out of 3 Ain’t Bad” about MLB rookies who have thrown no-hitters.
1. I threw a no-hitter as a rookie in 1970, and won the Cy Young Award and MVP award the following year.
2. In my major league debut in 1991, I walked two batters, allowed a single, and gave up 2 home runs without retiring a batter for an ERA of infinity. In my next start, I tossed a no-hitter.
3. I threw a no-hitter as a rookie in 1967 and threw another no-hitter in 1969 making me a member of two exclusive clubs — rookie pitchers who threw no-hitters and pitchers who threw more than one.
The answers are:
1. Vida Blue (Hyder incorrectly guessed Steve Carlton).
2. Wilson Alvarez (Steve got it right).
3. Don Wilson (Hydes incorrectly guessed Jim Palmer).
We’ll see if he can get back on the winning track on Tuesday night at Syracuse. I hope you’ll tune in for the broadcast beginning with the pregame show at 5:45 on the PawSox radio network and PawSox.com.
I’d love to hear from you. The address is email@example.com.