Mired in the worst six-start stretch of any Red Sox pitcher in 87 years, Clay Buchholz had a lot weighing on his mind this week.

So, fittingly, he cut his long hair.

But Buchholz made other changes, too. Before Wednesday night's game in Kansas City, the right-hander spent more than an hour in the bullpen with pitching coach Bob McClure, trying to identify and solve the problems that had caused his ERA to balloon to 9.09.

Yet there he was, six batters into last night's game, on the verge of unraveling again.

Having already scored one run, the Cleveland Indians loaded the bases with two out. Rather than sending McClure to the mound, manager Bobby Valentine took it upon himself.

His message: "That he's a very good pitcher," Valentine said, "and I didn't want him to let that game get away from him because of anything other than him being as good as he could possibly be — and probably some words that I won't use."