When it comes to performances by Red Sox starters this week, Clay Buchholz stood out. What else is new?
Buchholz's eight-inning, three-run effort in a 6-3 victory over the Orioles on Thursday earned the righty his fourth Amica Pitcher of the Week award in the past five weeks. It's safe to say he's earned them, too, with a 3-0 mark and 1.53 ERA over his last six starts.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Buchholz has been the only reliable pitcher in the rotation for far too long, as every other Sox starter surrendered at least five runs this week, resulting in a 1-3 record entering Saturday's matchup with the Yankees.
Josh Beckett struggled against the Orioles on Tuesday, allowing six runs in 5 1/3 innings in a 7-1 loss. Beckett navigated the first five innings without too much damage, but ran into trouble in the sixth, allowing RBI singles to Matt Wieters and Chris Davis to make it 4-1, Orioles. Beckett departed the game with one out and runners on first and second, both of whom would come around to score when reliever Mark Melancon allowed a three-run home run to the first batter he faced, Mark Reynolds.
Aaron Cook didn't fare much better on Wednesday. Like Beckett, Cook was doing pretty well until he was derailed by a rough sixth inning. In fact, Cook had not allowed a hit until the sixth, but three hits, a walk and an errant throw to second base by Cook resulted in five runs scoring.
Buchholz looked like he might have been headed for trouble on Thursday after allowing three runs in the first two innings, but he settled down from there, mowing down the Orioles' hitters over the next six frames en route to an eight-inning, seven-strikeout performance.
In Friday's game against the Yankees, Sox starter Franklin Morales only allowed six hits, but four of them went for home runs, sending Boston to another defeat. After Jon Lester had a solid performance on Saturday, the Sox hope Josh Beckett can get them a series win before Boston heads home to open a seven-game homestand against the Angels.
Overall, the bullpen had a very impressive week, yielding just two runs in nine innings of work. Andrew Bailey made his Red Sox debut on Tuesday against the Orioles, walking Davis before striking out Reynolds to end the eighth inning. He worked the eighth again on Friday against the Yankees, inducing a flyout from Russell Martin before striking out Jayson Nix to end the inning.
Sox pitchers won't catch a break early next week, with three games against the wild card-chasing Angels on tap at Fenway Park. After that, Boston will deal with the American League's second-worst team, with four games against the Royals. However, considering the Sox went just 3-5 recently against the AL's other two worst clubs, the Twins and Indians, the Royals series might not be a walk in the park.