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Clay Buchholz’s strong, surprising 2018 season for D-backs continues

Arizona Diamondbacks starter Clay Buchholz throws a pitch to a Los Angeles Angels batter during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

For all the inconsistencies surrounding the Arizona Diamondbacks’ season, the team’s most consistent player has also been the most surprising.

Clay Buchholz started the major league season with the Kansas City Royals, but he wasn’t even on a major league roster. Now he’s on one with the D-backs, and he’s been one of the best starting pitchers in the National League.

Prior to Wednesday’s 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels, Buchholz ranked ninth in ERA among all MLB pitchers with at least 70 innings thrown, per FanGraphs.

Buchholz continued his strong run of play in Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels, pitching seven scoreless innings and allowing four hits, no walks while striking out seven.

The 34-year-old was routine. He had only thrown 57 pitches through five innings, and the only runner to reach scoring position was Angels catcher Rene Rivers, who doubled in the fifth.

Mixing up his velocities and pitch types, Buchholz’s curveball and changeup kept hitters off-balance from his fastball and cutter.

Buchholz though didn’t allow two baserunners in the same inning all night and kept third base free in his seven innings of work.

The right-hander received just enough support to be in line for a win.

Paul Goldschmidt homered in the first and Arizona scrapped together one more run in the fourth off a Nick Ahmed single.

While Buchholz’s numbers are the best on the pitching staff, he has also been the most consistent. He has allowed over two earned runs in only two of his 13 starts.

And even when giving up five earned runs in mid-June to the Pittsburgh Pirates, his other outings in the month were so solid that he had a 2.93 ERA in his five June starts. He had a 1.64 ERA in his two May starts, a 2.92 ERA for two more starts in July and was at a 2.05 ERA in his three August outings prior to Wednesday night.

While D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray continues to struggle finding anything close to his 2017 form, Buchholz provides the D-backs with a reliable third option next to Zack Greinke and Patrick Corbin if they will be playing in October.


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