Clay Buchholz, Zack Greinke Square Off As Red Sox Look to End Two-Game Slide

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Clay Buchholz, Zack Greinke Square Off As Red Sox Look to End Two-Game Slide 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

PITCHING MATCHUP

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.

LINEUPS

Scott Podsednik, LF
Mike
Aviles, 2B
David DeJesus, RF
Billy Butler, 1B
Jose Guillen, DH
Alberto
Callaspo, 3B
Mitch Maier, CF
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
Jason
Kendall, C
Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David
Ortiz, DH
Victor Martinez, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Mike Lowell, 1B
Jeremy Hermida, LF
Mike Cameron, CF

STAT SHEET

Red Sox

  • 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.

Royals

  • 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

Red Sox

  • 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.

Royals

  • 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.

OUTLOOK

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.

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