Red Sox Turn to Clay Buchholz to Rebound Against the Rays

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Red Sox Turn to Clay Buchholz to Rebound Against the Rays The Red Sox’ troubles at Tropicana Field continued Wednesday night, but the local nine are sending Clay Buchholz to the hill in an attempt to take the three-game series.

Wednesday's loss took the Sox' record to 5-9 against Tampa Bay this season. Since Sept. 23, 2007, the Sox are 3-15 at the Trop. Overall, the Sox have lost four of their last six games, nine of 13, and 16 of 23 against the Rays.

When and Where

7:08 p.m. ET (NESN), Sept. 3, 2009
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Records

Red Sox (77-55, 2nd  place in AL East)
Rays (72-60, 3rd place in AL East)

Head to Head

The Sox overcame another shaky start by Josh Beckett on Wednesday, erasing a four-run deficit to tie the Rays, only to give up the lead and the game in the eighth inning. The loss cut the Sox' lead in the wild card over the Rangers, who beat the Blue Jays, to 2 1/2 games, and over the Rays to five games.   Beckett, who was not involved in the decision, settled down after giving up five early runs, striking out nine without allowing a walk, but couldn’t overcome his fourth straight shaky outing.

Lineups

Red Sox Rays
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Jason Bartlett, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B Carl Crawford, LF
Victor Martinez, C Ben Zobrist, 2B
Kevin Youkilis, 1B Carlos Pena, 1B
Jason Bay, LF Pat Burrell, DH
David Ortiz, DH Evan Longoria, 3B
Mike Lowell, 3B Gregg Zaun, C
Rocco Baldelli, RF Gabe Gross, RF
Alex Gonzalez, SS B.J. Upton, CF

Pitching Matchups

RHP Clay Buchholz (3-3, 4.38 ERA) vs. LHP David Price (7-6, 4.63 ERA)

In his last start, Aug. 29 at Fenway against the Blue Jays, Buchholz earned the win as he held the Jays to one run  on three hits and two walks, matching a season high with nine strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. All three of his wins this season have been against Toronto.

This is his first appearance against the Rays this season. In two career starts against them, he is 1-1 with a 2.03 ERA (three earned runs in 13 1/3 innings). He has made just one career start in Tampa Bay (April 26, 2008) and took the loss, allowing two runs in eight innings. He won his last start against the Rays (May 2, 2008), going five innings, giving up just one run.

Price is making his 18th start of the season. The Rays are 10-7 in his previous starts. In nine home starts, he is 6-2 with a 2.96 ERA (17 earned runs, 51 2/3 innings), compared to 1-4 with a 6.81 ERA (30 earned runs, 39 2/3 innings) in eight road starts. His last start, Aug. 29 in Detroit, was the longest outing of his career. He went 7 1/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts, earning the first road win of his career.

This will be his second regular-season start against the Sox, both this season. He earned the win against them Aug. 5 at the Trop, allowing two runs on six hits, no walks, with five strikeouts in six innings. He got the final four outs in Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS against the Sox, and compiled  2 1/3 scoreless, hitless innings with four strikeouts in the series.

Stat Sheet

Red Sox
The Sox are 32-34 on the road, third-best in the AL behind the Angels and Yankees. Before Wednesday’s loss, the Sox had won each of their last four road games. They are 5-9 in their last 14 and 9-14 on the road since the All-Star break.

The Sox had just six hits Wednesday, but had 10 or more hits in each of their previous four games and 11 of their last 15 games since Aug. 18.

The Sox’ 14 losses at Tropicana Field since the start of the 2008 season are the most by any visiting team.

The Sox had no home runs Wednesday, after homering in 15 of their previous 17 games with multiple homers in 12 of those games, 15 of their last 21, and 21 of their last 30 since July 31.

Jason Bay
’s home run Tuesday was his 30th of the season, reaching that mark for the second straight year and fourth time overall. He has 10 homers in his last 23 games, and six in his last 16.

Jonathan Papelbon’s save Tuesday was the first six-out save of his career, and the first for a Sox pitcher since Mike Timlin did so on Sept. 5, 2006, against the White Sox.

Since Aug. 4, Sox pitchers have combined for 233 strikeouts, second in the majors during that span, with 57 strikeouts over the last five games.

Sox pitchers have eight shutouts this season.

David Ortiz has 268 career home runs as a designated hitter, one shy of tying Frank Thomas for the all-time lead in that category. He is tied for second in the AL with Carlos Pena with 21 homers since June 6, trailing Kendry Morales by one.

Ortiz has 100 career RBIs against the Rays, fifth all-time. Derek Jeter is fourth with 108. His 34 career home runs against the Rays are his most against any opponent, and  are third all-time against the Rays, trailing Alex Rodriguez (39) for second.

Youkilis has hit safely in 10 of his 11 games against the Rays this season.

Victor Martinez has hit safely in 10 of his 11 games against the Rays this season.

Ramon Ramirez gave up two runs in one inning against the Rays on Wednesday. In his 12 previous career games against the Rays, he pitched 11 scoreless innings, including eight shutout innings in eight outings this season.

The Sox are batting .231 (6-for-26) against Price, with two home runs, two RBIs, no walks and six strikeouts.

Victor Martinez (.200, 1-for-5) has a home run and a strikeout against Price.

Jason Bay
(.333, 1-for-3) has a home run and a strikeout against him.

Kevin Youkilis
(.333, 1-for-3) has a double against Price.

Jacoby Ellsbury (.333, 1-for-3) has a double against him.

Jason Varitek (.500, 1-for-2) has a double against him.

Rays
The Rays are 15-2-1 in their last 17 series at home, including five sweeps.

The Rays are 43-22 (.662) at home this season, third in the AL, behind the Yankees (45-20, .692) and Sox (45-21, .682).

The Rays have 30 games remaining, against the Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Tigers, Blue Jays, Rangers, and Mariners, and are a combined 36-30 against them.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rays have the fifth-toughest remaining schedule, behind the O’s, Brewers, Royals, and Jays.

The Rays have 170 home runs and 167 stolen bases, one of two AL teams all-time with that many home runs and steals. The 1998 Blue Jays (221 home runs, 184 steals) are the other. They are looking to become just the second team (first in the AL) to reach 200 home runs and 200 steals, joining the 1996 Rockies.

The Rays’ 167 steals are 16 more than their previous franchise best of 151 in 2005.

The Rays hit 43 home runs in August, a team record of any month.

Since the start of the 2008 season, the Rays have a 100-46 (.685) record at home, just behind the Sox (101-46, .687) for the best in the majors.

The Rays are 15-3 in their last 18 games against the Sox at Tropicana Field since Sept. 23, 2007. The Rays have beaten the Sox 14 times at home since the start of the 2008 season, their most wins against any opponent at home.

The Rays have won five straight regular-season series against the Sox at home, and are 24-12 (.666) at home against the Sox under manager Joe Maddon. Overall, the Rays are 16-7 against Boston since June 30, 2008.

Including the 2008 postseason, the Rays are 20-10 in their last 30 games against the Sox, after going 43-98 in the previous 141 games.

The Rays are batting .191 (9-for-47) against Buchholz with a home run, four RBIs, five walks and 15 strikeouts.

Carl Crawford has faced him the most with the most success, batting .333 (2-for-5) with a walk and two strikeouts.

Akinori Iwamura is batting .286 (2-for-7) with the Rays’ lone home run, two RBIs and two strikeouts against him.

Evan Longoria (0-for-5) has struck out three times against Buchholz, with a walk.

Black and Blue

Red Sox
Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 20 with a mild right shoulder strain. He made a rehab start for Double-A Portland on Sunday, giving up five runs in two innings to Manchester. He is expected to make another rehab start Friday with the PawSox.

Jed Lowrie has been on the DL since Aug. 7 with ulnar neuritis of the left wrist.

Rays

Right-hander Jason Isringhausen is on the 60-day DL with a right elbow injury.

Right-hander Troy Percival is on the 60-day DL with right shoulder tendinitis.

This Date in Red Sox History

On Sept. 3, 1981, the Red Sox and Mariners play 19 innings in a 7-7 tie. The game is suspended and resumes the next day, with the Mariners winning, 8-7, in 20 innings. It is the longest game played in Fenway Park history.

Overheard

“I don’t know. Maybe not that far off. This is a hard one for us. He could potentially probably be pitching for us pretty soon. And he could potentially probably not.”
–Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on a timetable for Tim Wakefield’s return

Press Box

Red Sox
The Sox fought back but fell to the Rays.

Tim Wakefield is waiting to see when he can pitch again.

Will we start calling him Senator Schilling?

Rays
Pat Burrell and Evan Longoria led the way for the Rays.

The Rays’ owner answered some questions.

A top pitching prospect will make his debut soon.

MLB
The Rangers’ Michael Young is expected to miss at least two weeks.

Here's a look at some of the most impactful recent acquisitions.

The Giants are convinced they’ll make the postseason.

Outlook

The Sox won’t mind saying goodbye to Tropicana Field after Thursday’s game, their final regular season contest there this season. They will look to Clay Buchholz to win the rubber game of their three-game set. But so far this season, Buchholz has only managed wins against the Blue Jays. Victor Martinez should be back behind the plate to catch Buchholz.

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