Buchholz’s start too good to be true?
The Blue Jays were all but ready to print World Series tickets when the 2013 season began. 30 games later and the Jays are a horrendous 10-20, falling 10.5 games out of first place. Rather than shift the blame on their new manager, or underachieving pitching staff, the Jays have lashed out at other teams, labeling them cheaters.
Sox starter Clay Buchholz is an amazing 6-0 on the season, with an even nastier 1.01 ERA. Few words can truly describe Clay Buchholz’s performance so far, but cheater is certainly not one of them. Fed of from watching the Jays tank in the standings, sports personalities and analysts Dirk Hayhurst and Jack Morris have both said, on the air mind you, that Buchholz has been cheating this season. It is one thing to be upset at the opposition for doing so well, it is another thing though to desperately accuse another team of cheating to cover up how poorly the Blue Jays have done.
Baseball has long had associations with cheating; before the spitball was outlawed plenty of pitchers would doctor the ball to give themselves and advantage. While the steroid era shifted the focus to the hitter, plenty of players cheated from the other side of the mound too. While Buchholz has been very, very good this year there is little indication that he his cheating his way to the top.
Since his rocky first two years Clay has always shown flashes of brilliance, sometimes even giving a glimpse of vintage Pedro Martinez from the 1990’s. While Buchholz has always been good, he has also always been injured, 2013 is a different story though as Buchholz has begun to reach his prime and is at peak health.
Buchholz is not fazed by the media though, he has just been going through the motions and refuses to let others mitigate his success. Throughout the whole ordeal Buchholz has remained very calm, manager John Farrell is another story though.
“It bothers me immensely when someone is going to make an accusation,” Farrell said, “and in this case cheating, because they’ve seen something on TV. He’s got resin on his arm. I think resin was designed to get a grip. But the fact is, he’s got it on his arm. I’ve seen some people who have brought photographs to me. They’re false.”
Former Sox star and current TV analyst Dennis Eckersley recently took the gloves off on NESN, coming right out to defend Buchholz. As former starter/closer “Eck” knows his stuff when it comes to pitching, and so he was absolutely outraged by what people were saying about Clay.
“The guy’s so nasty, to take anything away from the way the guy is throwing the ball right now is absolutely ridiculous. Like you said Jerry — you saw Gaylord Perry and everybody in the house knew he was cheating, and so did the umpires and they never really did anything about it. To take that away from this kid right now is a crime because this is as good as I’ve seen anybody start a season off and he doesn’t need to cheat, Jerry,” Eckersley said.
As with all media scandals this one will eventually run its course. Until then Buchholz will do his best to pitch like the ace he is and shake off any comments meant to take away from his success.