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Clay Buchholz Doesn't Make Mistakes, According To Clay Buchholz

By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- Admitting fault is a daily challenge for most rational humans. Mistakes are not something that people generally like to concede as their own doing. Nobody likes to show weakness. But ultimately, the best thing to do when you screw up is admit it and say you need to be better. From there, all you have to worry about is being better.

Boston Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz already took that away from himself with his post-game presser Wednesday night. He couldn't just admit that he made a bad pitch to Mark Trumbo, who smashed a middle-in fastball to left field and almost completely out of Fenway Park for the game-tying home run that came just after the Red Sox spotted Buchholz a 4-2 lead.

But if you ask the Sox's de facto No. 2 starter, he did nothing wrong.

"The Trumbo home run wasn't a mistake, I threw the ball where I wanted to," said Buchholz.

Below is Trumbo's career "heatmap" from his rookie year in 2010 up through 2015. Buchholz threw the ball where about 1.3 percent of pitches have gone to him. In other words, don't throw there.

Configure the heat map any way you want, it bears out the fact that if Buchholz did indeed put the ball where he wanted to, he did make a mistake. If the ball was a bit higher and maybe more inside, he could have missed Trumbo's bat, but he gave up the game-tying home run - hence, mistake. It would be nice if Buchholz just admitted that sometimes.

Five pitches before the home run came the play that could have prevented the home run from happening. On a 2-1 count, Trumbo popped up down low to the first base side, where catcher Blake Swihart got in position to make the out but couldn't track the ball through the swirling winds as it dropped behind him.

"It's my fault," Swihart said on Trumbo's home run following the dropped pop-up. "We should have never been in that situation. That should have been an out right there."

Buchholz should listen closely to his battery mate, who is seven years his junior. When you screw up, just take accountability for it, even if you believe internally that it's not your fault. We don't know how Swihart feels on the inside about that home run; all you can go by is what he said outwardly, and because he was accountable for his own mistake he's not the one under fire today.

"'I messed up, my bad,'" Swihart said he told Buchholz after the inning. "There's not much I can say. He knows I messed up. I've just got to go out there and make that play."

If Buchholz simply admitted he made a mistake and needs to make better pitches, he may not be drawing the ire of so many in Boston today. If Buchholz truly believes that he didn't make a mistake on the Trumbo pitch, you can't conclude anything other than he is lying to himself.

Buchholz had a bad inning that spoiled an otherwise improved outing over his first start up to that point. But the results, once again, were not there, and so were the excuses and refusals to admit the real mistakes. Buchholz made a costly one with the pitch to Trumbo, and he would have better served himself to just say he needs to pitch better.

If he can never overcome the inability to hold himself accountable, those days of better pitching may never come back. After all, what needs to improve when he didn't really make any mistakes?

Matt Dolloff is a writer for His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at

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