Starting pitcher Clay Buchholz of the Boston Red Sox has been voted American League Pitcher of the Month for April.
Buchholz compiled a perfect 5-0 record with a 1.19 ERA, 39 strikeouts and 13 walks in 37.2 innings pitched over five starts to help the Red Sox match the all-time Club record with 18 wins in April (also 1998 and 2003) and close out the inaugural month with the best record in the Majors at 18-8. This is Clay's second career Pitcher of the Month Award, previously accomplishing the honor for August 2010. Among qualifying starters in the A.L. (minimum 36.0 innings), Buchholz finished tied for first in wins, was second in ERA, was fifth in opponent batting average (.192), was tied for seventh in strikeouts and was tied for eighth in innings pitched.
In his first start of the season on April 3rd, the 28-year-old allowed one run on six hits and struck out four as the Red Sox topped the New York Yankees, 7-4, in the Bronx. It was Buchholz's first victory over the Bombers since winning a 5-4 decision on May 13, 2011 at Yankee Stadium. On April 8th against Baltimore, the Nederland, Texas native scattered three hits with eight strikeouts over 7.0 shutout innings in a 3-1 win over Baltimore at Fenway Park. In his next start on April 14th against Tampa Bay, the Angelina Junior College product blanked the Rays over 8.0 innings, allowing just a pair of hits and striking out a career-high 11 batters to lead Boston to a 5-0 shutout victory at Fenway. In an emotional return to action at Fenway Park on April 20th against the Kansas City Royals, the 42nd overall selection (by Boston) of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft allowed two runs on eight hits and struck out six as the Red Sox edged the Royals, 4-3. In his final start of the opening month, the 2010 A.L. All-Star hurled 7.2 innings, surrendering a pair of runs on six hits with 10 strikeouts in a 7-2 victory over the visiting Houston Astros. With the win, the right-hander improved to 5-0 on the season with a 1.19 ERA. According to Elias, his 1.19 ERA (prior to last night's start) was the lowest by a Red Sox hurler through his first five starts of a season since Roger Clemens in 1991 (0.66). In addition, he became just the third Red Sox pitcher to hold opponents to two runs-or-fewer over at least 7.0 innings in his first five starts of a season in the live ball era (since 1920), joining Clemens (first seven in 1991) and Boo Ferriss (first seven in 1945). According to Elias, Clay is the fourth Red Sox pitcher ever to register five victories in April in a single season, joining Babe Ruth (1917), Pedro Martinez (2000) and Josh Beckett (2007), all of whom went 5-0 in the month. Buchholz is now 6-0 on the season with a 1.01 ERA following his victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre on Wednesday night.
Others receiving votes included Matt Moore (5-0, 1.13 ERA, 32.0 IP, 38 SO) of the Tampa Bay Rays; Yu Darvish (5-1, 2.33 ERA, 38.2 IP, 58 SO) of the Texas Rangers; and Felix Hernandez (3-2, 1.90 ERA, 42.2 IP, 44 SO, 7 BB) and Tom Wilhelmsen (11 G, 0.75 ERA, 8 SV) of the Seattle Mariners.
The American League Pitcher of the Month, Clay Buchholz, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for his accomplishment.