With just one win in their last five games, the Boston Red Sox have not been able to fully live up to the spoiler role that would have made this season easier to swallow. However, with eight games left to play — all against the Rays, Orioles and Yankees — they could still find a way to mix things up in the American League wild card race. While Bobby Valentine certainly won't be the one getting it done from the mound, several Boston pitchers could take home Amica Pitcher of the Week honors.
Clay Buchholz (11-6, 4.16 ERA) is the defending Amica Pitcher of the Week after putting up a solid seven-inning, four-hit effort against the Rays last Thursday despite not getting the decision. Buchholz will take the mound again Tuesday, looking to get his first win since Aug. 16. In that time, he has put up three quality starts (at least six innings, less than three earned runs), showing that with a little support, Buchholz could help stop the slide the Sox have been on.
Next up is Jon Lester (9-13, 4.96 ERA), as he takes the hill against Alex Cobb and the Rays on Wednesday. Lester has been inconsistent for much of the season, but he has lasted at least seven innings in his last two starts while giving up seven total runs. Lester was on the losing end of both contests, receiving just two runs of support in those games, but he has also struggled at Fenway this season, posting a 3-9 record with a 6.42 ERA.
After a quick two-gamer with the Rays, the Sox head to Baltimore, with Zach Stewart (1-3, 7.91 ERA) taking the mound in place of Daisuke Matsuzaka. Stewart has made 19 appearences this season, two of them starts. Having faced 45 hitters as a starter, Stewart has allowed 19 hits and six home runs. He last appeared Aug. 29 against the Angels, when he lasted just three innings, allowing 10 hits and nine earned runs.
With the Rays 3 1/2 games out of the wild card and the Orioles one game behind the Yankees in the AL East, a winning streak this week could make the final weeks of the season just as exciting as 2011. With the pitchers poised to make that happen, who do you think will be the next Amica Pitcher of the Week?