After winning five in a row, and eight of their last nine, the Red Sox seemed destined to keep on rolling as they arrived home to face a lowly Kansas City Royals squad. But Boston has dropped the first two games of the four-game set and now is searching for answers once again.
Jacoby Ellsbury was placed back on the disabled list Friday. Fortunately, Victor Martinez made his return from a bruised toe and contributed in a big way. It wasn’t enough, though, as the Royals rolled behind a grand slam by Yuniesky Betancourt and a four-hit performance from David DeJesus.
On Saturday, two of the game’s bright young pitchers, Clay Buchholz and Zack Greinke, will square off on the mound.
WHEN AND WHERE
Royals (21-28) at Red Sox (27-23)
Saturday, May 29, 7:10 p.m. (NESN)
Fenway Park, Boston
RHP Zack Greinke (1-5, 3.57 ERA) vs. Clay Buchholz (6-3, 3.07 ERA)
Clay Buchholz gets the nod for the Red Sox. He is 3-0 with a 1.97 ERA in his last three starts –at Tampa Bay, vs. Minnesota, at Detroit – and has gone at least six innings in each of those outings.
Buchholz is 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA in three career starts against Kansas City. For the season, he leads all Red Sox starters with a 3.07 ERA to go along with his 6-3 record.
Opposing him for the Royals will be last year’s Cy Young Award winner, Zack Greinke.
After a fantastic 2009 campaign (16-8, 2.16 ERA), Greinke has fallen down to earth a bit to start this season. Greinke is 1-5 with a 3.57 ERA in 2010, and is coming off his shortest outing of the season, when he allowed seven earned runs on nine hits against the Colorado Rockies.
Greinke is 1-3 in four career starts against the Red Sox, with his only win coming last September.
|Scott Podsednik, LF
David DeJesus, RF
Billy Butler, 1B
Jose Guillen, DH
Mitch Maier, CF
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
|Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Mike Lowell, 1B
Jeremy Hermida, LF
Mike Cameron, CF
- Victor Martinez is 11 for his last 22, including a two-hit, four-RBI performance on Friday night. On defense, he has thrown out 16.3 percent of base stealers.
- First baseman Kevin Youkilis has reached base in his last 27 games with a plate appearance.
- Second baseman Dustin Pedroia is hitting .219 in May after batting .302 in April.
- David DeJesus has hit safely in 10 straight games (17-for-43).
- Scott Podsednik is tied for fifth in the majors with 16 stolen bases.
- With two hits in Friday night’s game, first baseman Billy Butler sports a season-high average (.346) and ranks third in the AL.
BLACK AND BLUE
- Jacoby Ellsbury was placed on the disabled list again with a rib injury on Friday. He only played in three games after returning from the DL on May 22.
- Victor Martinez (toe) and Mike Cameron (abdominal strain) were both in the Red Sox lineup on Friday night
- Josh Beckett, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain, threw a side session on Friday.
- After missing two straight games with a concussion, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt returned to the lineup on Friday.
- Center fielder Rick Ankiel is on the disabled list with a strained right quadriceps.
- Infielder Josh Fields is on the 60-day DL following right hip surgery.
Zack Greinke hasn’t been the unstoppable force he was last year. He still has been solid, but he's not getting much run support. Despite a 12-run explosion on Friday night, expect the Royals' offense to come down to earth sooner or later. Saturday could be the day with a red-hot Clay Buchholz on the mound for the Red Sox. With two young phenoms hurling, this one could come down to which pitcher and team makes the least mistakes.