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Sunday’s Red Sox-Astros matchups: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Lance McCullers

Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

Coming off of yet another impressive start by Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox will look to win their third consecutive series Sunday afternoon when they send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound against Lance McCullers and the Astros.

After a set of lackluster starts in June, Rodriguez righted the ship in his latest start against the Blue Jays last Tuesday. In that outing he went six innings, giving up four hits and just one earned run to go along with four punchouts. Though he tossed 67 pitches in the previous start en route to a six-run implosion and a Red Sox loss vs. the Orioles on June 25, Rodriguez was on point at the Rogers Center, drawing a season-high 11 swinging strikes.

Suspecting that Rodriguez might have been tipping his pitches against the Orioles, his teammates came to the rescue, helping him rebound for his next start.

“The last time he pitched we all got on him because he was tipping his pitches really bad,” David Ortiz said following the Sox’€™ win over the Blue Jays. “We know he has that great stuff, but when you start tipping pitches hitters start eliminating pitches so it’€™s easier to hit. So in his case [Clay] Buchholz, myself, Panda [Pablo Sandoval], everybody was pretty much trying to him some ideas for his next outing. He executed really well, worked hard on it and he wasn’t tipping at all and that’€™s why he pitched the way he did tonight.”

Rodriguez has showcased dynamite raw stuff throughout his first month or so in the big leagues. He began his Red Sox career with two straight wins and 0.44 ERA through three starts. However, it did not take long for big league hitters to discover his tell, and once they did he spiraled into a horrendous three-start stretch in which opponents slashed .339/.382/.516 against him. Buchholz, no stranger to pitch-tipping himself, pinpointed Rodriguez’s issue and gave him some pointers on how to correct it.

“We watched video and showed him what was going on,” Buchholz said after the Blue Jays game. “He had no idea that he was doing anything wrong or anything different on any one pitch. These last four days that’€™s all he’€™s been talking about is working on it. He’€™s been the hotel room in front of a mirror he’€™s been working on it. He did a good job on it today.”

Rodriguez heads into his matchup with the Astros bearing a laudable 4-2 record and a 3.92 ERA through seven major league starts. Opposing him for the Cinderellas of MLB will be Lance McCullers, a fellow rookie.

Lance McCullers

Lance McCullers

McCullers, 21, is just one of a bevy of top-notch Astros prospects who has either already hit the big leagues or will within the next year or so. McCullers was drafted out of high school in Tampa, Florida, with the 41st overall pick of the 2012 amateur draft. As the son of former MLB pitcher Lance McCullers Sr., the right-hander seemingly has grown into expectations of big league success, and he has not disappointed thus far.

Going into Sunday’s game, McCullers sports a 4-2 record in nine starts with a 2.19 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. He’s no fluke, either, as he also owns a 2.63 FIP and a 9.8 K/9 rate, a result of his plus curveball.

“It was pretty good tonight,’€ McCullers said of the pitch after his latest start, a 6-1 win over the Royals last Monday. “I made an adjustment after the third. When I was getting ahead I was kind of burying it, and they weren’t really taking it. I wanted to get it more in the zone, so I had a lot of two-out contact on the curveball because I wanted to keep the pitch count down.”

McCullers has been downright dominant in his previous two starts, hurling 13 innings while accumulating 12 strikeouts and just two earned runs. His ERA over this stretch is a stingy 1.38 and opponents have been baffled to the tune of a .178/.269/.289 slash line.

Though he has never faced the Red Sox, Boston hitters have smacked right-handed pitching well this season with a .263 team batting average and a league-best 0.49 BB/K ratio.

Astros vs. Rodriguez (LHP)

No Astros have faced Rodriguez.

Red Sox vs. McCullers (RHP)

No Red Sox have faced McCullers.

Blog Author: 
Justin Pallenik

Sunday Red Sox Farm Report: Andrew Benintendi hits first pro HR; Yoan Moncada starting to hit in Greenville

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday:

Carlos Peguero

Carlos Peguero

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (38-46): L, 12-4, at Syracuse (Nationals)

— Left fielder Carlos Peguero homered in each of his first two at-bats, his fifth and six long balls on the season for Pawtucket, as the PawSox took a 4-3 lead in the third inning on Peguero’€™s three-run blast. Both shots were pulled over the right-center wall by the lefty Peguero, for whom 11 of his 21 hits in Triple-A this year have gone for extra bases. The 28-year-old Peguero was acquired by Boston from Texas on May 27 in exchange for cash, then designated for assignment on June 4 after just four games with the Red Sox to make way as Boston acquired Alejandro De Aza. Peguero has played in 103 major league games in his career with Seattle, Kansas City, Texas and Boston, hitting .194 with 13 homers.

— Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. went 2-for-4 to raise his Triple-A average to .324, while also scoring a run. Bradley was erased on a steal attempt in the first on a called third strike to Rusney Castillo, as batter’€™s interference was ruled on the throw to second. Bradley stopped running and was tagged out as he was looking toward the plate in confusion. Castillo took an 0-for-4 with four strikeouts on the evening.

— RHP Pat Light (Boston’€™s No. 26 prospect at MLB.com) struggled in the seventh as he allowed two singles and then walked three straight batters, his last one walking in a run in a 27-pitch outing. The final two walks were four-pitch walks, with several pitches dangerously up and in to the right-handed hitters. After blowing two saves in June, the 24-year-old Light had responded with back-to-back scoreless outings before the rare control problems Saturday. Combined this year between Double-A Portland and Pawtucket, Light had walked 15 batters in 38 innings heading into Saturday’€™s action.

Jantzen Witte

Jantzen Witte

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (29-53): L, 5-2, at Binghamton (Mets)

— Third baseman Jantzen Witte went 2-for-4 with an RBI double, but he committed what turned out to be a costly error in the second. With two aboard and one out, a hard grounder to Witte possibly could have been a double-play ball, but Witte did not field it cleanly and the bases were loaded. Two batters later, Gavin Cecchini, the younger brother of Pawtucket’€™s Garin Cecchini, blasted a grand slam to give the B-Mets a 4-1 lead they would not relinquish.

— The four unearned runs were the only ones given up by starting RHP William Cuevas on the night, as he finished with a line of 5 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO (90 pitches, 54 strikes). Cuevas, a 24-year-old Venezuelan, took the loss to fall to 7-5, although he lowered his ERA from 3.75 to 3.51.

— Center fielder Manuel Margot (Boston’€™s No. 5 prospect at MLB.com) reached base twice and scored a run, going 1-for-3 to raise his average to .294. Margot, 20, has a hit in 11 of 13 games played with Portland since his promotion from Single-A Salem in June. Signed for $800,000 out of the Dominican Republic in the 2011 international signing period, Margot is 15-for-51 with four doubles, seven RBIs, six runs and four stolen bases so far with the Sea Dogs.

— Shortstop Marco Hernandez singled in the eighth inning and now has hit successfully in 14 of his last 15 games, eight of those games multi-hit affairs. The 22-year-old Dominican is hitting .312 on the season, fifth best in the Eastern League, over 60 games played this season. Hernandez came to Boston as the player to be named later in the Felix Doubront trade with the Cubs last July.

Kevin McAvoy

Kevin McAvoy

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (41-39): L, 15-0, at Lynchburg (Indians)

— RHP Kevin McAvoy took the loss, dropping his record to 4-7, as Lynchburg scored three runs in the first and single runs in the third and fifth off McAvoy, with four of the five runs allowed earned. In 4 2/3 innings McAvoy allowed six hits, all singles, to go with four walks and five strikeouts. The 6-foot-4 McAvoy, drafted in the fourth-round in 2014, is 4-7 on the season with a 4.28 ERA in 15 starts.

— Lynchburg racked up 20 hits by the end of the game, tagging relievers German Tavares and Chandler Shepherd for six and four runs, respectively, and finishing 13-for-23 with runners in scoring position.

— It was an all-around ugly night for Salem, as the Sox managed just four hits, all singles, and committed three errors. Center fielder Forrest Allday was the only Salem player to reach base twice, going 1-for 2 with a single and a walk to extend his hitting streak to four games. Third baseman Jose Vinicio also had a hit, and over his last nine games is 12-for-31 (.387), raising his average from .268 to .290.

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (43-37): L, 3-1, vs. Savannah (Mets)

— Second baseman Yoan Moncada (Boston’€™s No. 1 prospect at MLB.com) paced the Greenville offense as he reached based three times, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a looping opposite-field RBI single to left in the eighth. Moncada, 20, also stole a base, his 10th, and made a fine defensive play in the fourth as he dove to his left to come up with a grounder ticketed for right field. Over his last nine games Moncada has gone 11-for-34 (.324) with seven runs scored to raise his average 34 points to .234.

— Center fielder Bryan Hudson scored Greenville’€™s only run, as he led off the eighth inning by ripping a double down the left-field line and then ran home on Moncada’€™s single. The 20-year-old Hudson, drafted by Boston in Round 15 of the 2013 draft out of high school in Georgia, is 9-for-31 (.290) with three doubles through eight games played since his promotion from short-season Single-A Lowell.

— LHP Dedgar Jimenez started and pitched four scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out four, before being pulled with his pitch count at 78. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Venezuelan, inked for $175,000 in the 2013 international signing period, is coming off a strong June when he went 2-2 with a 2.73 ERA over five starts, with a 17-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 29 2/3 innings.

Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS (12-4): W, 6-5, at Tri-City (Astros)

— Center fielder Andrew Benintendi, Boston’€™s first-round draft choice this year, hit his first professional home run and went 2-for-4 in his second game in the Red Sox organization. The two-run homer came in the third inning and gave Lowell a 6-0 lead. The 20-year-old Benintendi, the seventh overall pick out of the University of Arkansas, is off to a 4-for-8 start at the plate and has hit in the three-hole of the Lowell lineup on consecutive days.

— Second baseman Hector Lorenzana also homered for Lowell, a three-run shot in the second inning that was Lorenzana’€™s first in the Red Sox organization. The 23-year-old Lorenzana was taken by Boston in Round 37 of the 2014 draft out of the University of Oklahoma and has played in 52 games in the organization over the last two seasons, getting time at Salem and Greenville in addition to Lowell and the Gulf Coast League.

— LHP Bobby Poyner, selected by Boston in Round 14 in this year’€™s draft, made his professional debut and picked up his first save with a scoreless ninth inning. Poyner allowed a leadoff single, but after a sacrifice bunt he recovered to strike out two batters to end the game. Poyner, 22, played four years of baseball at the University of Florida and struck out 134 batters in 174 innings while walking just 27.

Devon Fisher

Devon Fisher

ROOKIE GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX (10-2): L, 11-1, vs. GCL Twins

— Catcher Devon Fisher reached base three times and had one of only three total hits for the GCL Red Sox in the blowout loss. The 19-year-old Fisher, who was drafted in Round 20 in 2014 and signed for $200,000 away from a commitment from the University of Virginia, has reached safely in five of his six games played this season. Fisher is 5-for-18 (.278) with four walks and four RBIs in his six games.

— Outfielder Danny Mars made his 2015 debut, going 0-for-4 as the DH. Mars, Boston’€™s sixth-round draft pick last year, played 44 games in 2014 with short-season Single-A Lowell before getting promoted to Single-A Greenville for 10 contests last August. The 21-year-old Mars signed for $215,000 last year out of Chipola College in Florida.

— Right fielder Chris Madera made his professional debut, going 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Madera, 22, was drafted by the Cubs in 2013 but did not sign and played two years for NAIA Faulkner University in Alabama before signing with Boston as an undrafted free agent. Madera hit .398 this season for Faulkner with nine home runs.

Check out the weekly WEEI.com Farm Report podcast hosted by Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable.

Blog Author: 
Ken Laird

Clay Buchholz continues ‘very similar’ run of 2013 in Red Sox’ win over Astros

“He’s been slicing and dicing so we’ll sit back, press play, and watch him go forever.” — Justin Masterson on Clay Buchholz following the Red Sox‘ 12-8 extra-inning loss to the Astros Friday night.

Friday night Justin Masterson said Clay Buchholz would go forever in Saturday’s start, and while he likely didn’t mean he literally would go forever, Buchholz went as long as possible as the right-hander tossed a one-run, complete game to lead the Red Sox to a 6-1 win over the Astros on the Fourth of July at Fenway Park.

Buchholz went all nine innings, allowing one run, which came in the ninth, on six hits while not issuing a walk and striking out eight. He threw 110 pitches, 80 for strikes.

“It’s definitely good especially after a game like last night,” Buchholz said. “Taxed bullpen. Yeah, so first thing in my coming out here today was to get as deep in the game as I could. Complete games don’t always happen. There’s a lot of things that have to go right for things like that to happen, but I could throw just about any pitch I wanted to today. It doesn’t happen like that very often but I was able to locate curveballs and throw changeups in the dirt whenever I needed some swings and misses and threw some cutters off of some heaters.”

Saturday’s performance was just a continuation of the run he’s been on of late. Over his last 10 starts dating back to May 10, he has an ERA of 1.99 and is 5-2. Most recently, he’s gone seven-plus innings and allowed one earned run or less over his last four starts, going a perfect 4-0 with an 0.87 ERA in that span.

While it may not be exactly like his pre-injury stretch of 2013 where he went 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA over his first 12 starts of the year, it’s pretty close.

“Very similar,” Farrell said. “Anytime you’re talking about a guy who is going to go seven or eight innings pretty much each time out with low runs allowed, it’s a very similar run.”

Buchholz was in control from the start, allowing just one hit over the first 16 batters of the game and retired 12 straight hitters between the second and fifth innings. The one run the Astros did score came in the ninth when Luis Valbuena drove in Jose Altuve, who extended his 12-game hit streak earlier in the frame.

The Astros came in to the game riding a five-game win streak and had recorded at least 11 hits and scored at least five runs in their last four games against the Red Sox.

“All of his pitches, there’s nothing straight,” Astros catcher Hank Conger said of Buchholz. “Everything is going away or coming into you. So, you can’t really guess. You have to see it out of the hand. He did an outstanding job today. We’ve been playing good baseball, for him to go out there and throw the way he did right there, hats off.”

Buchholz has now won five straight starts, his longest since his 11-0 mark to open the 2013 season. It’s the longest streak by a Red Sox starter this season and by now there’s no question as to who the Red Sox’ ace of the staff is.

“He’s been on a run the last 10 starts where he’s been in control,” Farrell said. “That was the case again today for the full nine inning of work. A number of pitches with men on base that he was able to execute. He’s in such a good place mentally where he’s completing his delivery, commanding four pitches for strikes. In control today.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

John Farrell says ‘time will tell’ if Xander Bogaerts has earned his way onto A.L. All-Star team

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Closing Time: Clay Buchholz’s complete game leads Red Sox over Astros on Fourth of July

Clay Buchholz led the Red Sox over the Astros Saturday at Fenway Park. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz led the Red Sox over the Astros Saturday at Fenway Park. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

If there was any question as to who the Red Sox’ stopper is, Clay Buchholz once again proved he’s that guy.

Taking to the mound following a Red Sox loss the game prior for the seventh time in his last nine starts, Buchholz once again delivered, leading the Red Sox to a 6-1 win over the Astros on the Fourth of July at Fenway Park.

Of those seven games, the Red Sox have now won four of them. Overall, Buchholz was won his last four starts and the Red Sox have won six of his last seven.

Saturday, the right-hander tossed a complete game and was completely in control of the Astros hitters, allowing just one run coming in the ninth. He allowed just six hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out eight while throwing 110 pitches, 80 for strikes.

It was the first complete game for a Red Sox pitcher this season.

The Red Sox gave Buchholz all the offense he would need in the first two innings. Xander Bogaerts drove home Mookie Betts with a sharp, two-strike single to right field in the first inning and then Betts’ sacrifice fly to left field in the second inning brought home Shane Victorino, who singled in his first major league at-bat since May 23.

They would tack on an unearned run in the fifth inning when Brock Holt reached on an error by catcher Hank Conger and then scored on a double by Bogaerts. The Red Sox chased Houston starter Collin McHugh from the game in the sixth when Betts doubled home Sandy Leon, who singled earlier in the inning.

Finally, the Red Sox capped the scoring in the eighth, adding two more runs when Betts laced a double to dead center field scoring Victorino and the Alejandro De Aza, pinch-hitting for Hanley Ramirez, beat out an infield single with the bases loaded on a head first dive into first base.

With the win, the Red Sox improved to 28-12 when scoring first.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— Buchholz was in control all game long. Between the second and sixth innings he retired 12 straight Astros hitters.

— Victorino in his first game back from the DL went 2-for-4. Dating back to earlier in the year he now has a seven-game hit streak.

— Bogaerts went 2-for-4 with a single and a double to extend his hit streak to four games. Over that span he’s batting .500 (9-for-18).

— Leon, who entered the game 0 for his last 14, reached base four times, including three singles. It was his second career three-hit game, as he had one back on April 13.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Mike Napoli went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He’s now hitless in his last nine at-bats. Overall, he’s two for his last 27.

— Ramirez went 0-for-4, which snapped an eight-game hit streak for the left fielder.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Patriots celebrate their own ‘fourth’ on Instagram

By winning their fourth Super Bowl title in franchise history this past February, the Patriots are celebrating a little different than everyone.

They posted this photo to Instagram on July 3.

#FBF That other time we celebrated the fourth. #Patriots

A photo posted by New England Patriots (@patriots) on

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Saturday Red Sox Farm Report: Joe Kelly allows 4 hits in PawSox loss; Andrew Benintendi makes pro debut

Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (38-45): L, 3-0, at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees)

— Joe Kelly suffered the loss, allowing three earned runs on four hits and four walks. The righty struck out seven and is now 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA after two starts in Pawtucket.

— The Pawtucket offense combined for just five hits. Left fielder Carlos Peguero notched the only extra-base hit, doubling to left in the bottom of the second. He finished the day 1-for-4 and is now hitting .259. Jemile Weeks, Quintin Berry, Rusney Castillo and Travis Shaw all recorded singles.

— Daniel Nava, on a rehab assignment, went 0-for-2 with a walk, while Allen Craig went 0-for-4.

— With Friday’€™s loss, the PawSox dropped a season-high six consecutive games.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (29-52): L, 11-4, vs. New Hampshire (Blue Jays)

— Starter Heri Quevedo lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up six earned runs on five hits and allowed five walks with one strikeout. The 25-year-old righty fell to 0-5 in six starts with Portland and now has an 8.86 ERA.

— Right-hander Simon Mercedes relieved Quevedo and pitched four innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks with one strikeout.

— Shortstop Marco Hernandez and third baseman Carlos Asuaje posted two-hit games for the Sea Dogs. Hernandez went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI, while Asuaje went 2-for-4. Hernandez has hit safely in his last four games and has recorded two hits in his last three. He is hitting .313 on the year.

— Left fielder Keury De La Cruz drove in a pair of runs for Portland and finished the day 1-for-3 with a double. The lefty is hitting .216 with 30 RBIs through 68 games this season.

Teddy Stankiewicz

Teddy Stankiewicz

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (41-38): L, 5-1, and W, 3-0, at Myrtle Beach (Indians)

— Teddy Stankiewicz went the distance in Game 2 to earn the victory, allowing just three hits over seven shutout innings. The right-hander matched a career-high in strikeouts with nine and walked none. Stankiewicz is now 3-8 with a 3.69 ERA in 15 starts with Salem this year.

— Salem scored all three runs in the top of the sixth, as first baseman Mario Martinez drove in two on a single to right. Second baseman Tzu-Wei Lin tacked on the third with a bases loaded single to left, bringing Martinez to the plate. Lin finished the day 3-for-4, raising his average to .290 on the season.

— Game 1 was a continuation of Thursday’€™s suspended game. Salem held a 1-0 lead after 4 1/2 innings before the contest was halted in the bottom of the fifth due to rain. Myrtle Beach scored all five runs in the bottom of the eighth off of right-hander Taylor Grover. Grover took the loss, falling to 2-2.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (43-36): W, 4-3, at Hickory (Rangers)

— Jalen Beeks improved to 7-4 on the season, earning the win in a six-inning effort. The left-hander allowed three earned runs on seven hits and walked none and struck out two. Beeks has a 4.27 ERA through 15 starts this year.

— Right-hander Jamie Callahan notched his first save of the year, tossing three scoreless innings of relief. He allowed two hits and struck out two. Callahan has a 1-5 record with a 6.04 ERA in 16 games, including six starts.

— Left fielder Bryan Hudson went 1-for-3 with two RBIs to lift the Greenville offense. Second baseman Yoan Moncada went 1-for-4 with a triple and a run scored.

SHORT SEASON LOWELL SPINNERS (11-4): W, 2-1, at Connecticut (Tigers)

— Lowell scored both runs in the top of the ninth inning. Second baseman Chad De La Guerra kicked off the rally with a single to center. He scored on a single to center off the bat of Josh Ockimey after 2015 first-round pick Andrew Benintendi, who made his pro debut Friday, moved De La Guerra to second on another single to center. Benintendi scored the second run on a single to right by Mitchell Gunsolus. Benintendi, who played center field and batted third, finished the day 2-for-4.

— Jose Almonte started for the Spinners, tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings. The 19-year-old right-hander gave up one just one hit and walked three and struck out four.

— Right-hander Enfember Martinez came on in the sixth and earned the win. He finished out the game, going 3 1/3 innings and giving up one earned run on two hits and one walk with three strikeouts. Martinez is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in four appearances with Lowell this season.

Blog Author: 
Emily McCarthy

Red Sox pregame notes: Steven Wright recalled, Noe Ramirez optioned; When might Dustin Pedroia return?

Steven Wright

Steven Wright

After allowing four runs (two earned) in the 10th inning of Friday’s 12-8 loss to the Astros, Noe Ramirez, who was making his major league debut at the time, was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket and Steven Wright was recalled.

“High number of innings out of the bullpen — we need a fresh arm and someone capable of going multiple innings,” manager John Farrell said before Saturday’s game.

Wright started for the PawSox on Wednesday, going five innings and threw 95 pitches so he wasn’t available to pitch Friday, which was the reason he wasn’t called up yesterday. Despite being on two days rest, the knuckleballer is available Saturday.

“He’s available for a couple of innings today,” Farrell said.

With the Red Sox this season, splitting duties between long reliever and a starter, Wright is 3-2 with a 4.15 ERA.

Dustin Pedroia (hamstring) is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Friday against the Yankees and while he’s progressing, the team is weighing the risk-reward of playing him for three games, or giving him an extra three days off leading into the All-Star break.

“Hit again yesterday in the cage,” Farrell said. “Yesterday was a good day for him where the intensity to his running started to increase more. We will get a clearer view on this as we get through the Miami series. What we’re going to come down to is what is the risk-reward for activating him in the final series later this week on the homestand, or do we take advantage of those four days. We’re not clear — the next few days will give us more clarity on that.”

— With the two off days next week and issues some starters have had of late, Farrell had no update on the rotation as who would start when or who may be skipped. He said he would have that information Sunday.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Red Sox lineup: Shane Victorino returns vs. Astros

For the first time since May 23, Shane Victorino will start a game for the Red Sox.

The right fielder (left calf) was activated from the disabled list prior to Friday’s game, but will make his return Saturday against Astros right-hander Collin McHugh.

Other than Victorino, it’s a standard Red Sox lineup with Sandy Leon catching Clay Buchholz.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, CF
Brock Holt, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, LF
Pablo Sanodval, 3B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Shane Victorino, RF
Sandy Leon, C
Clay Buchholz, RHP

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Saturday’s Red Sox-Astros matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Collin McHugh

After dropping the first game of a three-game set to the Astros, the Red Sox will send right-hander Clay Buchholz to the mound to face Collin McHugh Saturday afternoon.

Buchholz enters Saturday’s game with a record of 6-6 and sporting a 3.48 ERA. He has struck out 96 in 16 starts on the season, and has a WHIP of 1.24.

In his last start, Buchholz dominated the high-octane Blue Jays offense to the tune of eight innings and one run. He scattered five hits in a 3-1 Red Sox victory.

“He’s been on a really strong run through the entire month, and tonight tops off the month that he’s had,’€ said manager John Farrell of his starter’s effort. ‘€œEight very strong innings for us. On a night we needed a starter to go deep, he provided it. But he was outstanding. He threw four pitches for strikes. He threw some quality two-seamers in to their big right-handers to keep them honest. It was a constant mix, staying out of the middle of the plate. He was outstanding tonight.”

Buchholz has been far and away the best starter in the Red Sox rotation this season, and has in many ways been better than his ERA indicates. In his past nine starts, the 30-year-old has accrued a 2.13 ERA and opposing hitters have hit just .235 against him. He has earned a 1.03 WHIP during that span, dating back to May 15.

Collin McHugh

Collin McHugh

McHugh has earned a 9-3 record to go along with a 4.51 ERA in 16 starts so far this season. He has a 1.27 WHIP and 4.01 FIP.

McHugh’s last start was a great one, as he delivered a win against the Yankees on Sunday. The right-hander pitched eight innings of one-run ball and the Astros took a 3-1 decision. He allowed only two hits and a pair of walks while striking out eight.

“I’m not sure I can accurately describe that,” Hinch said of his performance. “He was fantastic, as dominant as we could.”

The win was McHugh’s third in a row, during which he has compiled a 2.45 ERA and allowed opponents only a .190 average against him. He has hurled 22 innings and struck out as many hitters during the streak.

In his only career start against the Red Sox on August 17, 2014, McHugh got the win. He pitched six innings and allowed just one run while striking out six and the Astros won 8-1.

Red Sox vs. McHugh (RHP)

Ryan Hanigan (4 plate appearances): .000 AVG/.333 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 walk, 1 RBI

Xander Bogaerts (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Jackie Bradley Jr. (3): 1.000/1.000/1.000, 1 walk

Brock Holt (3): .500/.667/.500, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

David Ortiz is 0-for-2 with a walk against McHugh.

Alejandro De Aza is 1-for-2 against McHugh.

No other Red Sox have faced McHugh.

Astros vs. Buchholz (RHP)

Colby Rasmus (26 plate appearances): .143 AVG/.280 OBP/.143 SLG, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

Jose Altuve (12): .083/.083/.083, 3 strikeouts

Chris Carter (9): .333/.333/.444, 1 double, 3 strikeouts

Jason Castro (9): .375/.444/.375, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Marwin Gonzalez (9): .222/.222/.333, 1 double, 3 strikeouts

Luis Valbuena (8): .125/.125/.500, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Hank Conger (6): .400/.500/.600, 1 double, 1 walk

Jon Singleton (6): .000/.167/.000, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

No other Astros have faced Buchholz.

Blog Author: 
Josh Slavin