Red Sox Hope to Win One for Buchholz


Aug 2, 2009

Red Sox Hope to Win One for Buchholz The last time Clay Buchholz took the mound for the Red Sox, the youngster had a promising outing. He went 5 2/3 innings at home against the Oakland A’s, allowing just two runs and leaving in good position to win the ballgame. But the bullpen imploded soon after, and Jonathan Papelbon‘s blown save gave way to a 9-8 Oakland win in 11 innings.

Can the Sox redeem Buchholz and get a win this time? They’re taking on the Orioles, who have continued their losing streak with two more losses to the Sox this weekend. Buchholz will attempt to carry them to the sweep.

When and Where
1:35 p.m. ET (NESN), August 2, 2009
Camden Yards, Baltimore, Md.

Red Sox (61-42, 2nd place in AL East)
Orioles (44-59, 5th place in AL East)

Make it 11 of their last 15. The Orioles’ losing skid just goes on and on — since the All-Star break, the O’s have been even more anemic at the plate and even more rally-prone on the mound. It’s a rebuilding year for Baltimore — again — and Sunday’s starting pitcher is living proof of that. Berken and fellow youngsters Brian Bergesen and David Hernandez are trying to rebuild the Orioles’ rotation and begin a new era in Baltimore, but that won’t happen overnight. It’s been a long year for these O’s.

Starting Lineups

Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Brian Roberts, 2B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B Felix Pie, LF
Victor Martinez, C Adam Jones, CF
Kevin Youkilis, 1B Nick Markakis, RF
David Ortiz, DH Aubrey Huff, DH
J.D. Drew, RF Ty Wigginton, 3B
Mike Lowell, 3B Luke Scott, DH
Josh Reddick, LF Gregg Zaun, C
Jed Lowrie, SS Robert Andino, SS

Pitching Matchup
RHP Clay Buchholz (1-1, 3.52 ERA) vs. RHP Jason Berken (1-8, 6.21 ERA)

With Buchholz, it’s hard to read the early returns after three starts in the major leagues this season. His ERA of 3.52 suggests he could be among the AL’s elite soon, but his command still seems to be an issue. He’s driving up high pitch counts in a hurry, making it difficult to go deep into games (he still hasn’t finished the sixth inning in the majors this year), and his walk totals are worrisome.

With the kind of stuff Buchholz is packing, there’s little doubt that he can be a big-league pitcher. But just how high is his ceiling? That depends on whether he can get it together this year. He needs to be more efficient on the mound in order to truly reach the next level.

As for Berken, he’s a long way from even being Buchholz. A standout pitcher at Clemson and the Orioles’ sixth-round draft pick in 2006, Berken has potential, but he’s still working on proving himself. The rookie won his major league debut on May 26, beating the Blue Jays 7-2, but he hasn’t won a single game since. He’s now 1-8. Perhaps the Orioles rushed him to the major leagues, but given the personnel in Baltimore these days, perhaps they just didn’t have a choice.

Stat Sheet
Red Sox
The Red Sox are 18-14 this season in day games.

They are 16-14 in one-run games.

Clay Buchholz has faced the Orioles four times in his career, three as a starter. His first start against them was a no-hitter at Fenway Park on September 1, 2007, but overall he has a 4.19 career ERA in 19 1/3 innings.

Dustin Pedroia has scored 72 runs this season, fourth in the American League.

Jason Bay has 74 RBIs, also fourth in the AL.

Kevin Youkilis has been hit by eight pitches this season. He ranks sixth in the AL in that category.

Victor Martinez had 67 RBIs in 99 games with the Indians this season, placing him just barely within the AL’s top 10.

Casey Kotchman has 20 doubles this season.

Jacoby Ellsbury is 51-for-152 (.336) in his career against the Orioles.

J.D. Drew is hitting just .229 on the road this season, but eight of his 12 home runs have come away from Fenway Park.

David Ortiz has exactly 100 RBIs in his career against Baltimore.

Mike Lowell has nine RBIs in his last eight games.

The Orioles are 11-18 in day games this season.

Jason Berken has lost eight consecutive decisions.

Melvin Mora has a .307 career on-base percentage against the Red Sox.

Matt Wieters has just three home runs this season. He hasn’t gone deep since July 5.

Luke Scott is slugging .575 at home this season. He has 12 home runs at Camden Yards.

Of Adam Jones‘ 17 home runs this season, 10 have come at home.

Brian Roberts has faced Clay Buchholz 11 times in his career — he has a triple, a double, two singles and two walks for an OPS of 1.323.

Nick Markakis is 0-for-6 in his career against Buchholz, but he has walked three times.

Black and Blue
Red Sox
Daisuke Matsuzaka and manager Terry Francona have kissed and made up after the public feud this week over the pitcher’s rehab from a mild right shoulder strain. Matsuzaka has been on the disabled list since June 20.

Tim Wakefield has been out since July 18 with a strained lower back. He has begun throwing bullpen sessions and hopes to return this week.

Relief pitcher Miguel González underwent right elbow surgery this season. He has been on the 60-day DL since March 27 and is presumed out for the entire season.

Dennis Sarfate
is currently rehabbing from an unusual injury — he’s experienced numbness in his right hand. The big-league club has been without Sarfate since May 2.

Chris Ray was placed on the 15-day DL on July 6 with right biceps tendinitis.

Lou Montanez was placed on the DL on May 23 right a right thumb injury. He was forced to undergo surgery but should return this season.

This Date in Red Sox History
In 2008, Jason Bay hit his first home run in a Red Sox uniform, two days after coming to Boston in the three-way trade that sent Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles. The Red Sox rallied for five runs in the top of the first against Oakland pitcher Dana Eveland; Kevin Youkilis hit a two-run homer to put the Sox on the board, and Bay, batting fifth, later hit the three-run blast that broke the game wide open. The Red Sox won 12-2.

“He’s obviously a very good base stealer. It makes it a little fun for us, having a little rivalry. We’re good friends. There’s always that competitive spirit that will come out between us, particularly with both of us in a pennant race.”
–Jacoby Ellsbury, in Sunday’s Boston Herald, on Carl Crawford. Ellsbury and Crawford have emerged as the two best base stealers in the American League.

The Press Box
Red Sox
Make it 13 wins for Josh Beckett.

Please welcome: Victor Martinez.

The stolen base race is on.

The O’s had nothing against Beckett.

Here’s the latest on prospect Brian Matusz.

Thoughts on trading George Sherrill?

What a day for Andrew McCutchen.

Tim Lincecum had his way with the Phillies.

Edinson Volquez will go under the knife.

If the Sox can’t put a hurting on Jason Berken, they should have serious questions about how their offense is going to keep them afloat down the stretch. The Sox’ bats struggled out of the gates after the All-Star break, but things have picked up over the last few days — it certainly helps to have some struggling rookies on the mound facing you. The Red Sox have performed well all this year (and last) against Orioles pitching, and there’s no reason that shouldn’t continue in Sunday’s series finale.

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