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Sunday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Tommy Hunter

05.06.12 at 7:51 am ET
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Following the final road trip of April, the Red Sox had plenty of reasons to feel good about themselves. The team seemed to finally be clicking as they went 6-1 while showing an ability to win both close games and offensive blowouts and evening their record to 11-11. Since returning home, however, the Red Sox are back to the slumping Boston team that has occupied the bottom spot in the AL East for much of the season. The Red Sox are 1-4 on the current homestead and have lost nine of their last 10 games at Fenway Park, a place where the team has traditionally enjoyed home field advantage.

After suffering an 8-2 loss on Saturday afternoon, the Red Sox enter Sunday’s series finale against the Orioles looking to avoid being swept for the fourth time this season. Clay Buchholz will take the mound for the Red Sox in the homestead finale, while the Orioles will send out righthander Tommy Hunter in their attempt to complete a sweep at Fenway Park.

In terms of runs allowed, Buchholz has not pitched well this season. The righthander has surrendered at least five earned runs in each of his six outings so far this season, but the team has somehow found a way to win behind him, as Buchholz owns a 3-1 record.

Buchholz pitched well through the first six innings of his most recent start, an 11-6 Red Sox win over the Athletics on April 30. He held the A’s to one run on four hits while the Red Sox roughed up the Oakland pitching staff for 11 runs in the first five innings. Buchholz unraveled in the seventh inning, however, when, with two outs in the inning, he allowed a two-run single and a three-run home run before being pulled in favor of Junichi Tazawa.

On Sunday, Buchholz will look to lower his ERA against a Baltimore team who hit well against him last season. In his only outing of 2011 against the Orioles, Buchholz took a 4-1 loss after allowing four runs on a season-high 12 hits over 6 2/3 innings. Catcher Matt Wieters has been an especially difficult batter for Buchholz, as the 25-year-old is 6-for-14 with two doubles and an RBI in his career against Buchholz. In contrast, Robert Andino has struggled throughout his career against the righthander, going 0-for-7 with five strikeouts against Buchholz.

Hunter will take the mound for the Orioles with six days of rest under his belt. The righthander had an in-grown toenail removed after his last start, a 5-2 win over Oakland on April 29, and had his start this weekend pushed back one day to give him extra time to recover. Hunter is 2-1 on the season and the Orioles have won four of the five games that he started. In his last outing, he allowed two runs on seven hits through seven innings but did not earn a decision in the Baltimore victory.

Hunter has made six starts against the Red Sox and compiled a 2-1 record and a 6.52 ERA in those games. He last faced the Red Sox on Sept. 26 last season, and he limited Boston to one earned run on seven hits through five innings in an eventual 6-3 Baltimore win. The heart of Boston’s lineup, however, has enjoyed success against Hunter. David Ortiz hits Hunter at a .313 clip and has a double and two home runs against him. Adrian Gonzalez owns a team-best .429 average against Hunter while Dustin Pedroia is close behind with his .400 average in his career against the righthander.

Orioles vs. Buchholz (RHP)

Nick Markakis (29 plate appearances): .125 BA/.276 OBP/.125 SLG, 1 RBI, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts

Adam Jones (16): .300 BA/.333 OBP/.700 SLG, 1 double, 1 home run, 6 RBIs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Matt Wieters (15): .429 BA/.467 OBP/.571 SLG, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Robert Andino (8): .000 BA/.125 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Mark Reynolds (7): .167 BA/.143 OBP/.333 SLG, 1 double, 1 RBI, 4 strikeouts

Chris Davis (3): .000 BA/.333 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Red Sox vs. Hunter (RHP)

David Ortiz (16 plate appearances): .313 BA/.313 OBP/.750 SLG, 1 double, 2 home

runs, 5 RBIs, 4 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (11): .400 BA/.455 OBP/.600 SLG, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Adrian Gonzalez (9): .429 BA/.556 OBP/.571 SLG, 1 double, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Ryan Sweeney (9): .250 BA/.333 OBP/.375 SLG, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 walk

Mike Aviles (7): .167 BA/.143 OBP/.167 SLG, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Cody Ross (3): .000 BA/.333 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 walk

Nick Punto (2): .000 BA/.000 OBP/.000 SLG

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2): .000 BA/.000 OBP/.000 SLG

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