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Sunday’s Red Sox-Tigers matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Max Scherzer

04.08.12 at 3:00 am ET
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It has been a long offseason for every member of the Red Sox, but Clay Buchholz has had an especially long wait. The 27-year-old right-hander will take the mound Sunday afternoon for the first time since June 16, 2011, when he made his final start of the 2011 season before missing the rest of the year with a back injury.

In the final game of the season’s opening series, Buchholz and the Red Sox will contend with Max Scherzer and the Tigers in a 1 p.m. matinee at Comerica Park.

Buchholz is looking to get off to a better start this season than he did last season, when the Red Sox lost four of his first five starts while Buchholz struggled with a 5.33 ERA and walked more batters (16) than he struck out (15). In Buchholz’s first outing last season, a 5-1 loss to the Rangers, he lasted 6 1/3 innings and gave up four solo home runs.

Buchholz faced the Tigers twice last season. Both of those outings came in May, and although Buchholz pitched well in both games (allowing 10 hits and three earned runs over 13 innings), he did not earn a decision in either game.

Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta has the most success of any of his teammates in his career against Buchholz. Peralta is 4-for-12 with a double and four RBIs against the righthander.

In contrast to Buchholz, Scherzer has struggled in his career against the Red Sox. The 27-year-old righthander is 0-2 in three career starts against Boston, running up a 9.45 ERA in 13 1/3 innings of work. His only outing against the Red Sox last season was a disaster, as Boston touched him up for seven earned runs over two innings in an eventual 14-1 Red Sox win on May 26 at Comerica Park.

The Red Sox game aside, Scherzer will look to get off to a similar start this season as he did last season, when he won his first six games and had a 10-4 record at the All-Star break. Scherzer struggled to sustain his early season form in the second half, as he maintained a 5-5 record with a 4.09 ERA in his final 14 starts.

Scherzer’s experience with the Red Sox lineup is limited, as just four members of the Boston lineup have more than five career plate appearances against him. David Ortiz has just seven plate appearances against Scherzer, but he has been dominant in those at-bats, knocking out two home runs and four RBIs. Scherzer has never retired Jacoby Ellsbury, who has a walk and a home run in two career plate appearances against the right-hander.

Red Sox vs. Scherzer

Adrian Gonzalez (11 plate appearances): .111 BA/.273 OBP/.111 SLG, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Carl Crawford (8): .286 BA/.286 OBP/.571 SLG, 1 triple, 2 RBIs

Kevin Youkilis (8): .286 BA/.375 OBP/.429 SLG, 1 double, 1 walk

David Ortiz (7): .667 BA/.714 OBP/1.667 SLG, 2 home runs, 4 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Mike Aviles (5): 1-for-5, 1 strikeout

Dustin Pedroia (5): 1-for-5, 1 home run, 2 RBIs

Darnell McDonald (4): 1-for-4, 1 strikeout

Cody Ross (4): 2-for-4, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (3): 2-for-3, 1 strikeout

Ryan Sweeney (3): 0-for-3, 2 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (2): 1-for-1, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 1 walk

Ryan Kalish (2): 1-for-2

Andrew Miller (2): 0-for-1

Nick Punto (2): 0-for-1, 1 walk

Kelly Shoppach (2): 0-for-2, 2 strikeouts

Tigers vs. Buchholz

Miguel Cabrera (18 plate appearances): .200 BA/.333 OBP/.333 SLG, 2 doubles, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

Austin Jackson (14): .077 BA/.143 OBP/.154 SLG, 1 double, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Jhonny Peralta (14): .333 BA/.357 OBP/.417 SLG, 1 double, 4 RBIs, 3 strikeouts

Brennan Boesch (12): .167 BA/.167 OBP/.417 SLG, 1 home run, 2 RBIs. 2 strikeouts

Ryan Raburn (12): .273 BA/.333 OBP/.545 SLG, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Gerald Laird (8): .143 BA/.250 OBP/.143 SLG, 1 walk

Alex Avila (6): .400 BA/.500 OBP/.600 SLG, 1 double, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Ramon Santiago (5): 0-for-4, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Delmon Young (4): 1-for-4, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Andy Dirks (3): 2-for-3, 1 home run, 1 RBI

Don Kelly (3): 1-for-3

Clete Thomas (3): 0-for-3, 1 strikeout

Has not faced: Prince Fielder and Danny Worth

Read More: Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jhonny Peralta
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