Originally written on Ted's Army  |  Last updated 9/16/12
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If there’s a down note, it’s that he walked a season-high five. But he effectively worked around the free passes in a way that seemed impossible back in April, which he finished with an ERA of 8.69.

Since late May, however, Buchholz has been one of the best starters in the game. He owns 13 quality starts in his last 20 appearances and since May 27 is 7-4 with a 2.88 ERA. He has pitched at least seven innings in 10 of his last 11 starts.

“It’s a shame it didn’t happen at the beginning of the season, when I wanted it to or expected it to,” Buchholz said. “This game’s humbling. You can go out there and feel great and give up six runs. Then you can go out there and not have your best stuff and get through seven innings. I feel good about it. I wish the whole scenario were a little different for us as a team. We’ve got three weeks left. We’ve got to get through it and make ourselves better from it, learn from it, and go from there.”

Herald: Clay Buchholz builds on quality run

The Red Sox are going to need Clay Buchholz to build on his late-season success more than ever because there will not be much out there to sign in the off-season. Clay will be a crucial building block for next season and beyond. That is, if he doesn't suck ass in the first 2 months of the season.

Also noted in that article is Clay Buchholz is one of only five players on the current roster that is signed for next season (Lackey, Pedroia, Lester, Iglesias), and Ellsbury will be in his second year of arbitration. With a weak free-agent market, the Red Sox recently freed up cash will not make a quick fix. Those 5 players will be crucial to the building of this team in the future, well, maybe not Lackey.

The Pawtucket Red Sox have molded some great talent and a lot of those guys are very close to ready for the next step. If some of them do make the next step up to Boston, it will take a while before we see any significant progression. There is a lot of good talent, but not "top prospect" talent, so it will take some time to mold the young guys.

I highly doubt the Red Sox will be a splash next season and a 3rd place finish may be the likely outcome. The Sox will at least have a fresh start with a lot of new faces to help change everything that went wrong in the last 2 seasons.

Related: ESPN Boston: Clay Buchholz a bright spot for Sox

The rest of the links:

CSNNE: Merloni: Valentine disrespected his players | Who should be the Red Sox manager next season? | Why wasn't Alfredo Aceves suspended? | McAdam: 'Very surprised' if Henry sells in near future | Ciriaco clutch hit help Sox edge Jays 3-2 | Bailey making up for lost time | Herald: Son shines on Pedroia | Andrew Bailey way better late | Globe: Pedroia rejoins team in Toronto, back in lineup | Ciriaco's hit send Red Sox to another win | No decision, but Buchholz was on his game | Sox coach Bogar on Astros' interview list

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