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08/11/08 9:35 PM ET

Boston isn't giving up yet on Buchholz

Starter getting a dose of reality in his second season

CHICAGO -- Clay Buchholz might have reached a low point on Sunday, when the right-hander was pounded for five runs -- including three homers -- and was knocked out with nobody out in the fourth. But that doesn't mean the Red Sox are ready to bail on Buchholz, who is 2-8 with a 6.32 ERA.

Buchholz, who turns 24 on Thursday, will indeed make his next start on Friday night at Fenway Park against the Blue Jays.

"We kind of talked about it today," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "We've been so committed to this guy. We're spending our energy, [pitching coach] John Farrell and I spent a bunch of time with him today, trying to help. There's a fine line there between giving a kid too much."

This whole season has been a rude awakening for Buchholz, who fired a no-hitter last Sept. 1 in his second Major League start.

"Last year, when he was pitching against Baltimore, it looked so easy," Francona said. "Right now, it's not easy. You're playing good Major League teams and they're finding ways, they're doing everything in their power to try to find a way to exploit anything you do. We're kind of trying to balance trying to help and not beating him over the head with stuff. That's actually not the easiest thing. But we're spending some time talking to him about things and just trying to make progress."

One of the points emphasized by Francona and Farrell is how Jon Lester went through similar adjustments before taking his game to another level this year.

"We actually used that today," Francona said. "Now, they're different pitchers, but there's some similarities. When the game is getting going, and you need to make a pitch, and then the pitch doesn't get made or somebody whacks it, your human nature is to back up and think about it, 'OK, what do I do?' instead of getting in that rhythm of attacking the strike zone. I think Lester is a great example. This kid is trying not to mope around. And I think he's actually doing a nice job of it.

"He's trying hard to do the right thing. It's experience. He's living through it. We were laughing about it today. 'Buch, you're experiencing everything.' That's just part of it."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.