The Boston Red Sox are going to want to forget about this one.
The New York Yankees smacked around Clay Buchholz right out of the gate Sunday at Yankee Stadium, lighting up the right-hander for seven runs in the first inning as the home team walked away with a 14-4 win. The night pretty much summed up Buchholz’s struggles with consistency after his first start of the season saw him spin seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts and just three hits against Philadelphia on opening day.
Things looked as though they could turn around when the Sox put up three runs in the fourth inning, but Buchholz gave all those back in the bottom of the frame, and it proved to be a momentum killer.
The Red Sox could only manage one run after that off a Hanley Ramirez solo shot.
GAME IN A WORD
Unfortunately, there’s no other way to put it. It was clear from the first inning that it would be a bad night for Buchholz, and the defense behind him looked as though it might still be a little sleepy after Friday’s game took 19 innings and ran into the wee hours of the night.
But if there’s any good news, it’s that we’re only six games into the season, and theoretically, it doesn’t get much worse than that. Buchholz got a real stinker out of his system and hopefully can put it in his rear view as he looks to bounce back.
The Red Sox also won the series, so there’s that.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Buchholz allowed three runs in the fourth inning.
After a 1-2-3 second inning and a third inning that saw Buchholz strike out two, it looked as though the right-hander might have regained control of the game. The Red Sox had just plated three runs in the top half of the inning to make it 7-3 and realistically could have caught up. However, Buchholz’s shaky fourth meant it would take a monster inning for a Boston comeback.
Boston’s bullpen also was taxed this series thanks to Friday’s 19-inning thriller, and Buchholz’s inability to get through a full four innings was a bad omen for things to come.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Expectations have been sky high for Mookie Betts, and he could be feeling some of that pressure. The young outfielder went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts Sunday night and is batting just .192 over his first five games.
For what it’s worth, though, Betts has been hitting the ball hard, but it’s been ending up in the gloves of opposing defenses. Betts also made a great diving catch to help fans forget about his rough start.
— Second baseman Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-4 and was eventually replaced by Brock Holt in the seventh inning. Holt hit a two-out single in the ninth inning but was left stranded on a Daniel Nava flyout.
— David Ortiz also has had a slow start, and his 0-for-3 night left him with a .130 average. In fact, it was Ortiz for whom Nava pinch-hit in the final frame. Big Papi did take a base, though, and ended up with a run on a Ramirez sacrifice fly.
— Speaking of Ramirez, he was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a home run.
— Pablo Sandoval was 2-for-4 with two strikeouts.
— Mike Napoli finally got his first hit of the season. The first baseman went 1-for-2 with two walks.
— Xander Bogaerts continued to produce and went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. The young shortstop is batting .407.
— Shane Victorino and Ryan Hanigan both went 0-for-4
ON THE BUMP
— Did we mention is was a bad night for Boston’s pitching staff? Buchholz’s final stat line gave him 10 runs (nine earned) with three strikeouts, two walks and two home runs over 3 1/3 innings. His once-perfect ERA now sits at 7.84.
— Craig Breslow wasn’t perfect, but he got the job done. The left-hander pitched 1 2/3 innings with a strikeout and three walks.
— Tommy Layne struggled when he was called to the mound in the sixth. The young southpaw loaded the bases with no outs and ended up allowing three runs before getting out of the jam.
— Anthony Varvaro allowed a hit in the seventh, but he kept his ERA clean and added a strikeout.
— Edward Mujica was responsible for a Brian McCann homer in the bottom of the eighth and allowed another hit before getting out of the inning with a double play and a lineout.
TWEET OF THE GAME
Though this tweet always feels true, it’s especially pertinent this weekend.
The Red Sox will look for more success in their home opener Monday.
Rick Porcello will take the mound in his new long-term home at Fenway Park against Jordan Zimmermann the Washington Nationals. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m.
Thumbnail photo via Kathy Willens/Associated Press