Clay Buchholz Takes Mound in Red Sox’ Fifth Mayor’s Cup Meeting With Twins

For nine days now, you’ve been itching for some Mayor’s Cup action down in Florida. Finally, the Red Sox and Twins deliver in a contest that could clinch the coveted trophy for the Sox.

Boston has won three of the first four meetings between the teams, the last being a 6-4 victory at Hammond Stadium on March 14. With a victory, the Sox will have won the cup four years in a row.

WHEN AND WHERE

7:05 p.m. ET, March 23, 2010
Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers, Fla.

RECORDS

Twins (9-8)
Red Sox (9-11)

HEAD TO HEAD

Boston’s first three games of the Grapefruit League schedule came against Minnesota. It won two of those three meetings and then grabbed control of the seven-game Mayor’s Cup slate with a win at the Twins nine days ago, despite the fact that starter Josh Beckett had to be scratched.

Replacement minor leaguer Ryne Miller was reached for three runs in the first inning, but seven other Red Sox pitchers combined to limit Minnesota to just one run in a 6-4 triumph.

Jeremy Hermida had two hits and two RBIs.

LINEUPS

Red Sox
1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. JD Drew, RF
4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
5. David Ortiz, DH
6. Adrian Beltre, 3B
7. Jason Varitek, C
8. Jeremy Hazelbaker, LF
9. Che-Hsuan Lin, CF

Twins
Twins will be available when announced
.

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Clay Buchholz (0-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. RHP Carl Pavano (1-0, 2.77 ERA)

Buchholz has not faced major league hitters since March 13. He was dominant in four innings against Twins minor leaguers at the Red Sox Player Development Complex on Thursday. A few zeroes out of the young righty might feel nice for the rest of the club after it gave up 34 runs in three losses between Sunday and Monday.

Pavano is a former Boston farmhand used in the Pedro Martinez deal in 1997. Just in case you forgot.

STAT SHEET

Red Sox
Mike Cameron
added two more hits Monday against Tampa Bay to improve to .423 (11-for-26) this spring.

Red Sox pitchers have surrendered 14 home runs in their last four losses.

Tug Hulett‘s three RBIs on Monday tied him with Dustin Pedroia for the team lead with eight.

Twins
Starter Scott Baker is 2-0 and has allowed just one run in 14 Grapefruit League innings.

Outfielder Michael Cuddyer has 16 hits in 31 at-bats, good for a .516 average.

In nine games and 22 at-bats, outfielder Jacque Jones is hitting .318 but somehow has yet to score a run or drive one in.

BLACK AND BLUE

Red Sox
According to manager Terry Francona, pitcher Boof Bonser complained of some groin pain after leaving Monday’s outing against Tampa Bay. The Rays hit two home runs and scored five times in two-plus innings against Bonser.

Mike Lowell is expected to get a start at either third or first base as he continues to come back from thumb and hip issues.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is still on track to throw three innings Friday against Toronto.

Twins
Closer Joe Nathan is out for the year with a torn ligament in his right elbow.

Starter Nick Blackburn threw in an intrasquad game Sunday as he deals with a sore right knee.

OVERHEARD

“I don’t know how to put it into numbers what catching does to you. He just stands up there, doesn’t matter if he’s facing right- or left-handed [pitching]. He’s one of the best in the game and he just got rewarded for it.”
–Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on Twins catcher Joe Mauer, who was just awarded an eight-year, $184 million contract extension

PRESS BOX

Red Sox
Johnny Damon
can wear his Red Sox championship ring again.

Boof Bonser did himself few favors Monday.

Twins
A fan’s take on the Mauer contract.

One of many looks at the Twins’ closer situation now that Nathan is out.

MLB
More Ozzie Guillen drama in Chicago, this time involving his son.

Dodgers manager Joe Torre does not want to be a distraction.

OUTLOOK

With eight losses in nine games, the Sox would at least like to get that positive feeling again, and in Buchholz they have a good chance. He has appeared very strong each of his last two outings.

Look for Buchholz to go five innings, and with the team’s best relievers also slated to get some work, perhaps Boston can finally limit the damage.

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