Dang it all if every few years Clay Buchholz doesn’t channel his inner Pedro Martinez and pitch like an ace:
- 2010: 2.33 ERA, 3.61 FIP
- 2013: 1.74 ERA, 2.78 FIP
- 2018: 2.01 ERA, 3.47 FIP
Those crazy-low ERAs aren’t totally supported by Fielding Independent Pitching metrics, but his ability to outpitch his FIP is likely the result of pinpoint control (2.01 BB/9), ridiculous strand rates (86.6% LOB%) and limiting home runs (8.7% HR/FB).
Maybe those numbers are unsustainable – but they’re clearly repeatable. You have to admit, the plan of attack is sound: limit free passes, keep the ball in the yard, and scatter the hits. That more or less sums of the objective of the pitcher.
Buchholz did his job this season.
Unfortunately, in classic Buchholzian fashion, he was scratched from his scheduled start on September 14th with a flexor mass strain and didn’t throw another pitch in 2018. The Diamondbacks slide was already well underway, but losing Buchholz felt like the final confirmation that the magic had run out, both for him and for the 2018 Diamondbacks.
Still, what a run.