Typically a team would turn to their number one or number two starter to halt a recent losing skid, such as the one the Red Sox were going through when they entered play on Tuesday night, losing seven of their last eight. In that case it would be Jon Lester or Josh Beckett who would play the role of savior, throwing a dominating performance and out pitching the opposing club’s top pitcher en route to a Red Sox win. Problem being that Lester and Beckett have failed to live up to the challenge recently.
Lately that duty has fallen upon Clay Buchholz who did it again Tuesday, lifting the Red Sox to a desperate 2-1 victory over the Miami Marlins.
It was the third straight start in which Buchholz took the mound and secured a victory after watching his club lose the night before, previously beating Baltimore and Toronto after losses to the O’s and Tigers respectively.
But perhaps it’s more than just the seventh victory of the season for Buchholz and more about the way he earned the W. Another brilliant outing from the right hander who had struggled so badly for the first seven weeks of the season that many critics were calling for a demotion to the minors. It was the fourth straight start in which Buchhy would last at least 7.0 innings and tonight he surrendered just one run on a solo homer while scattering five hits, walking two and striking out a season high nine batters. He has also managed to lower his ERA to 5.38 on the season after doing his best John Lackey impersonation through April and May.
Buchholz has now won three straight games and for the record, leads the Red Sox pitching staff in wins with a 7-2 record. His last four outings he’s thrown a combined 31.0 innings while allowing five earned runs on twenty-three hits. During that span he’s fanned 28 batters and walked only 6. Dare we say that the Clay Buchholz of old is back?
On a night in which the Marlins starter, Mark Buehrle was equally impressive, Buchholz had to hold down the Miami offense and give the Sox bats a chance to put some runs on the board. It would take until the seventh inning before Boston broke through against Buehrle thanks to a Kelly Shoppach double that would score Will Middlebrooks, to be followed up by a Mike Aviles single to score the Sox part time catcher.
Buchholz would surrender his lone run in the bottom half of the inning after Logan Morrison took him deep to right but the resurgent Sox starter would get the next three fish to end the inning.