It's hard to take much from two innings in early March, but of the five Red Sox starters, only Clay Buchholz had a clean run through his debut. The young righty will look to take that next step Friday night against the New York Yankees in the first of two meetings this month between the old rivals.
Buchholz retired all six men he faced in his first outing of the spring Sunday night at Minnesota. He struck out one of those six batters and was through the appearance in just 18 pitches.
The effort received high praise, at least for an outing on Feb. 27, from catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
"Buck was great. Downward angle from the beginning," Saltalamacchia said. "Kept the ball down, mixed his pitches up. Just lights out."
The trip to Tampa represents the first real road trip of the spring for Boston. They have played two games at Minnesota, but that is just a quick ride to the south side of Fort Myers.
The Yankees, who enter 2-3-1, will feature some interesting arms of their own, both young and old. Bartolo Colon, who turns 38 in May, gets his second start of the spring. Mark Prior, the former Chicago Cubs standout who has not pitched in the major leagues since 2006, is slated to appear out of the bullpen.
Also scheduled to appear is left-hander Manny Banuelos. He is just 19 and listed at only 155 pounds, but has been a dominant minor league starter in his three years in the organization.
Red Sox vs. Yankees
George M. Steinbrenner Field
Clay Buchholz (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Bartolo Colon (0-0, 4.50 ERA)
Buchholz found out after his debut Sunday night that he would be facing the Yankees in his next start. He replied by saying, "The underdogs!" In his career during the regular season, Buchholz has struggled against New York. He is 1-2 with a 5.79 ERA lifetime, walking 14 and striking out 13 in 28 innings.
Colon had a brief stint with the Red Sox back in 2008. In seven starts, he went 4-2 with a 3.92 ERA. David Ortiz will not make the trip, which should satisfy the big slugger — he is 5-for-40 (.125) with 15 strikeouts in his career vs. Colon.
Lineups will be posted before the first pitch
The Red Sox and Yankees have tied the season series 9-9 each of the last three seasons. Before that, New York took the season series seven out of eight years.
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