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What's in store for Clay here on out?

As the Sox think about what role Clay Buchholz should have the remainder of this season, there are many factors at play. One of those should NOT be our collective emotion following the no-hitter. For some reason, the Sox brass doesn't want to reveal their innings cut-off for young pitchers. I'm not sure what competitive advantage they'd be yielding by publicly saying that they don't want prospects pitching more than 150 innings in a season. Regardless, Buchholz is at 140 right now and I think that around 150 is where they'd like to stop him. That means they can maybe let him start next time around and give the big guys an extra day off. Then they could use him sparingly in the bullpen for the following few weeks and give him the last start of the season, assuming that it doesn't matter. With about 5 or 6 times around the rotation remaining, Clay won't be asked to start all those games and risk pitching 30 more innings this season.

Another issue here is the Joba the Hut factor. Joba Chamberlain might be the Yankee's Jonathan Paplebon. But Buchholz is not like either of these guys. He's a finesse pitcher with very good stuff to match. That is, he's not going to come into a game and blow people away with heat the way Pap and the Hut can. It wouldn't hurt for him to get a few games out of the bullpen this year, but it's important that he continues to throw all his pitches in those games. He is not the answer to questions about Gagne and Oki's health.

According to this article on Baseball Prospectus, Clay can real back and get the ball into the upper 90s. But that actually scares me more when it comes to the idea of putting him in the pen. The idea of our top prospect being tempted to overthrow and become a fastball pitcher is not a enticing one.

By the way, did anyone else worry that Tek or Papi might actually break Buchholz in the no-no celebration? He's so f---ing skinny. Prediction: at no point will he every be referred to as a "horse" like Clemens and Schill. On the other hand, skinniness doesn't seem to hurt Roy Oswalt.

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