Monday, August 11, 2008

The problem with having so much young pitching…

…is having so much young pitching.
First off, Clay Buchholz is our fifth starter (maybe fourth with Wake on the DL). Really, anything you get out of a fifth starter is a bonus. If a fifth starter was regularly dominant, he wouldn’t be a fifth starter, right? But, ignoring that little tidbit we have to look over some facts.

Clay Buchholz is in a rough stretch. That’s fairly obvious. Certainly, that’s to be expected. Remember, he’s 23 years old. (Yeah, he turns 24 on Thursday) I don’t think it’s fair to expect anything substantial from a 23 year-old pitcher. I know it’s mostly his own fault for throwing that no-hitter. We all now expect that all the time. We forget that no-hitters are really flukey, and are really just an example of the inconsistency. It was just one of the “high” times. So, it’s easy to look at that upside and say, “Geez. he threw a no-hitter at 23…he’s got it already!” But, you can’t say that. Yes, he has filthy stuff. Yes, he’s capable of putting it all together for a stretch. It will just take a while for him to figure out how to do it all the time. But, we need to back off.

When Pedro Martinez was 23, he was floating around the Dodger farm system hoping to one day be a major league pitcher. When Roger Clemens was 23, he was working his way though a 7-5 season pitching 98 innings for the Sox. He hadn’t even discovered the wonders of having his wife use HGH yet. When Jonathan Papelbon was 23, we was making it through A-Ball. When Josh Beckett was 23, he went through a 9-8 season pitching 142 innings for Florida. (Yes, he finished strong with a World Series MVP.) But, here’s the deal. All those great pitchers went through some ups and downs when they were that young. Sooner or later, it just clicks…if it’s ever going to click. Take Jon Lester. He was the picture of inconsistency until he looks to have figured it out this year at 24. You just have to wait it out, and hope it happens. (It’s Theo’s job to decide if it is ever going to happen.) Until then, just try to enjoy the highs, and don’t stress the lows.

And, don’t make me write this again when Justin Masterson, Michael Bowden. etc struggle while they’re 23.

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