After winning three straight games against the Braves, Red Sox Clay Buchholz allowed five runs to lose the game.
The Atlanta Braves are not a good baseball team. Actually, entering this game they were the worst team in baseball with a 4-17 record. The Red Sox owned Atlanta for the first three games of the series, with David Price striking out 14 batters and Dustin Pedroia homering twice in the same game. Even before the series started the expectations were for the Red Sox to sweep the Braves, but with Clay Buchholz pitching the last game we all knew that the outcome wasn’t as predictable.
Nick Markakis hit a double to center field to start the first inning, so the bar was set for Buchholz to have another inconsistent start. The righty got out of the inning without damage and the Red Sox gave him the lead in the bottom half of the 1st thanks to a double from Pedroia and a single from Hanley Ramirez.
The Braves quickly took the lead in the next inning thanks to a couple of singles from Erick Aybar and Markakis and a double from Mallex Smith. The closest the Red Sox came to tie the game again was in the bottom half of the 3rd when Xander Bogaerts and Ramirez doubled to make it a one-run game with a 3-2 score.
Buchholz however, walked Jace Peterson and gave up a single to Markakis to boost the Braves’ lead 4-2. The righty was unable to pitch a hitless inning allowing another run in the 6th. Tommy Layne replaced Buchholz in the seventh after Adonis Garcia singled with only one out.
Layne pitched 1.1 innings and was relieved by Heath Hembree who still hasn’t allowed a run in his short Major League stint with the Red Sox. Betts and Pedroia started a late rally in the bottom half of the 9th with back-to-back singles, but Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino got Bogaerts out to end the game.
It was a sad game for the Red Sox with the offense cooling down and Buchholz being inconsistent again. Everything seems going alright with the team with Porcello resurging as a reliable starter, Price pitching as the ace he is and Steven Wright earning a permanent spot in the rotation by leading the team in ERA.
It isn’t a good look for Buchholz to give up five runs to arguably the worst offensive team in baseball and let’s not forget that he still has yet to pitch a winning game for the Red Sox. It still April, but he has some history of collapsing when the team needs him the most. The Red Sox need to fix this issue quickly and be realistic on seeing what they can actually do with Buchholz.
- It was the sixth game out of 22 in which the Braves scored six or more runs.
- Ramirez went 3-4 with two RBI.
- Pedroia is second in hits in the Majors with 32, only three behind from Diamondbacks Jean Segura.
The rotation has been solid for quite some starts now and they needed someone to keep the ball rolling. Buchholz hasn’t pitched a decent game so far, and it is starting to become a problem with May coming up. If Price, Porcello and Wright keep pitching this way the Red Sox can afford to have a “bad” Buchholz, but that’s not an excuse to be a wild card.
Pedroia has become an expert on making the doubters swallow their words. HanRam might join Pedroia’s club soon if he keeps hitting this way and stays healthy with that defense at first base. Tonight the issue wasn’t the offense, but they did cool down after averaging seven runs in the previous four games.