Red Sox Live Blog: Rays Top Sox 2-1 Despite Solid Outing From Clay Buchholz

by NESN Staff

May 16, 2012

Red Sox Live Blog: Rays Top Sox 2-1 Despite Solid Outing From Clay Buchholz Final, Rays 2-1: Fernando Rodney was absolutely filthy in the ninth, getting Will Middlebrooks and Jarrod Saltalamacchia whiffing.

Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson silenced the Red Sox' bats to capture the victory and validate his Rookie of the Year award from last season.

Although Clay Buchholz didn't get the victory, he continued to take strides because he didn't give up many runs. Balks, however, plagued the team in a strange way.

End 8th, Rays 2-1: Scott Atchison struck out Jeff Keppinger and got Elliot Johnson out on a groundout to clean it up for Morales.

But the big concern was the status of Will Rhymes. You have to wonder whether he broke a bone in his arm — when he was plunked — and the aftereffects caused him to faint.

10:22 p.m.: That wasn't the best sequence for Franklin Morales, who was tagged for another balk and then hit Will Rhymes in the elbow during the next at-bat.

Scott Atchison is coming in for the lefty as the Rays examine Rhymes.

And apparently, Rhymes has collapsed on the field and he is being examined. Scary situation.

It took paramedics in a cart to come get Rhymes and bring him back for exams.

Mid 8th, Rays 2-1: That's why the Rays are the Rays. The bullpen stepped up for Hellickson, specifically Joel Peralta.

He got Dustin Pedroia to ground out, David Ortiz to fly out and Adrian Gonzalez to strike out. He hit Gonzalez with some nasty splitters in that at-bat.

While Gonzalez has done well recently, his lack of homers is very surprising. You have to wonder when he'll get those numbers up.

End 7th, Rays 2-1: Balks continue to plague the Red Sox' pitching staff. This time, Franklin Morales was responsible for the blunder.

He didn't seem to agree with the call, but took it out on Carlos Pena by striking out the slugger. Give him credit for mentally being able to shake it off.

9:49 p.m.: Matt Albers handled some business to get two outs and now the Rays will get a look at Franklin Morales on the mound.

Mid 7th, Rays 2-1: The call to have Mauro Gomez pinch-hit for Ryan Sweeney in that situation didn't work out like Bobby Valentine envisioned.

Gomez grounded into a double play, ending the inning. Director of player development Ben Crockett said Gomez swings for power, but sometimes that approach could get the best of him.

He's still adjusting to major league hitting, so it'll be interesting to see how he continues to grow depending on the opportunities.

End 6th, Rays 2-1: That might've been an early hook for Clay Buchholz. It actually surprised me, considering how well he was pitching and had only tossed 87 pitches.

But Andrew Miller did his best under the circumstances. Despite allowing a sac fly, Miller recoreded two strikeouts to escape.

He's been a pleasant surprise since coming up from Pawtucket. Miller showed signs of progress in the spring, but he's provided that and more so far.

9:21 p.m.: After five innings and some change, Buchholz is coming out and Andrew Miller is entering to replace him.

Mid 6th, 1-1: Jarrod Saltalamacchia was able to crank out a single off Hellickson, continuing his nice stretch.

After Tuesday's game, the catcher said he was feeling pretty good at the plate. He also wasn't too shabby when he called the game for Josh Beckett since they haven't been paired much together.

Now, he's trying to keep up that momentum with Buchholz and so far, so good for the duo.

End 5th, 1-1: For the first time in a long time, Clay Buchholz is looking like the Clay Buchholz of old times.

He's mixing up his curveball, changeup and fastball very well and only needed nine pitches to end the fifth inning.

Could it be the haircut? He has been pitching better since he chopped off the locks.

Mid 5th, 1-1: Jeremy Hellickson is still cruising in this one, having fanned four Red Sox batters. So far, he owns a 2.85 ERA.

It's much better than his last outing against the Red Sox, when he yielded seven hits, five runs and three homers on April 14.

End 4th, 1-1: After allowing two singles with two outs, Buchholz did a strong job of bouncing back and striking out Jose Molina.

He also got Luke Scott to line out. As many of you remember, Scott was public enemy No. 1 in Fenway last month as he crushed homers — after dissing the old ballpark.

Mid 4th, 1-1: Daniel Nava belted an RBI single to tie it up and continues to be an on-base machine for the Red Sox.

Bobby Valentine said he loves the left-handed bat that Nava brings to the Red Sox and it helps Cody Ross since Ross is a bit more comfortable at right field.

It allows Ryan Sweeney, a defensive specialist, to roam in center field for Marlon Byrd, who hasn't really gotten it going.

End 3rd, Rays 1-0: That's 52 pitches for Clay Buchholz through three frames. Something to keep an eye on.

But from watching that one, it appeared that Buchholz was going a little more to his changeup, which bodes well. That's been his killer pitch and he hasn't leaned on it much this season. Maybe he's finally getting the feel for it.

Mid 3rd, Rays 1-0: In this inning, Mike Aviles hit his second double in as many days.

In the last two weeks, the shortstop seemed to cool off after mashing the ball to start the season, but he may be getting back into the rhythm.

He's always been the guys with a chip on his shoulder and you know he wants to keep Jose Iglesias away from his job as much as possible.

End 2nd, Rays 1-0: For the second time in a little over a week, a Red Sox starter has balked in a run.

It appeared that Clay Buchholz was really bothered by a man on first, which allowed Carlos Pena to cross home plate.

Before Buchholz, it was Daniel Bard who struggled with balks as he surrendered two in Kansas City.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: Ladies and gentleman, that is why Jeremy Hellickson was the AL Rookie of the Year last season.

The pitcher just struck out the side and fanned his fourth straight Red Sox batter, showing he's still got the stuff to be lethal.

Talk about impressive. If he keeps it up this season, he'll be key to the Rays' playoff hopes.

End 1st, 0-0: That was a 1-2-3 inning for Clay Buchholz. Since Red Sox starters have thrown five straight quality games, the pressure is on him to keep it up.

Over the weekend, Jon Lester told us that pitchers get confidence from watching one another and don't want to be the ones that snap the team's strong streak.

Buchholz needs a polished outing more than ever.

Mid 1st, 0-0: The Red Sox got men on base as Dustin Pedroia singled and David Ortiz drew a walk, but nothing came about it.

Also, leadoff hitter Ryan Sweeney grounded out. Earlier, Bobby Valentine told the reporters in St. Petersburg that Sweeney wasn't comfortable atop the lineup and, frankly, Valentine wasn't either.

I thought Mike Aviles was solid up there, but Valentine wanted to use his bat to capitalize on RBIs. That's a leadoff spot worth monitoring.

6 p.m.: Here are the lineups.

Red Sox 
Ryan Sweeney CF, 
Dustin Pedroia 2B, 
David Ortiz DH, 
Adrian Gonzalez 1B, 
Will Middlebrooks 3B, 
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 
Cody Ross RF, 
Daniel Nava LF, 
Mike Aviles SS 
Clay Buchholz, P

Ben Zobrist RF, 
Justin Upton CF, 
Matt Joyce LF, 
Carlos Peña 1B, 
Luke Scott DH, 
Sean Rodriguez 3B, 
Will Rhymes 2B, 
Jose Molina C, 
Elliot Johnson SS
Jeremy Hellickson, P

8 a.m. ET: The Red Sox (17-19) steamrolled through their competition at home and will be looking to keep firing on all cylinders against the Rays (22-14). When they last squared off in April, the Red Sox took three out of four games of the series in Fenway. Now, Boston is hungry for more as it continues to climb back to a .500 record.

The Red Sox will have Clay Buchholz on the mound to help them achieve that goal. Buchholz turned in his best performance of the season in his last start, allowing three earned runs in 6 1/3 innings to claim a win over the Indians. He'll take on Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, who is 3-0 with a 2.95 ERA this season.

For analysis on the game, follow's live blog. Tune into NESN's pregame show at 6 p.m. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.


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