Bits: Is Clay Buchholz's breakout for real?

Updated: April 15, 2013, 11:09 AM ET
By Eric Karabell

Boston Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz, owner of a no-hitter from his second big league start way back in 2007, nearly matched the feat Sunday when he held the beleaguered Tampa Bay Rays -- yes, them again -- hitless for seven innings. Buchholz is off to a terrific start in 2013, which must surprise many people since he was a 22nd-round choice in ESPN average live drafts. He has gone from roughly 80 percent owned to 100 percent owned in the past week, but there's a reason why there were so many disbelievers to begin with.

Buchholz missed more than half of the 2011 season because of a back injury, and started the next year so miserably that some fantasy owners just couldn't get on board, and might never trust him again. Buchholz brought a 7.18 ERA into June last season, becoming a free agent in most leagues. In June/July his composite ERA was 2.42. And in September, his ERA was 4.82, though it was ruined by one bad outing. Still, this is a streaky pitcher in an odd career plagued by injury, and Sunday's outing was a reminder just how good he can be. But things can change quickly.