Clay Buchholz brought back some of the old fire, touching 94 in the second inning, and throwing hard enough to give the rest of his stuff the surprise factor that offspeed pitches need. More impressive was the location, off the center of the plate, but around the zone. This is a lot of paint:
...and throwing seven pitches wherever he wanted (counter-clockwise from the top of the chart):
2) 2-seamer, a little slower than the 4-seamer, with noticeably more horizontal bend (distortions in the Tampa PitchFX notwithstanding)
3) splitter -- just a few, but enough to surprise the lefties
4) changeup -- formerly Buchholz' strikeout pitch, but now just a change-of-speed
5) curve -- lots of movement in both planes
6) slider -- the slower he throws the pitch, the greater the horizontal movement, almost all to RHB. The slider and cutter are both slower than they were before Buchholz' injury, with greater velocity separation from the fastballs.
7) cutter -- the faster he throws the pitch, the less it cuts, but it still has enough contrast with the fastball to prevent the batter from getting the sweet spot of the bat on the ball.
Buchholz looked awfully good for a pitcher who has been out of action for months. What's new: the slower cutter verging toward a slider; the reduced reliance on the fastball (only 27 of 74 pitches); and the wider assortment of offspeed pitches.