|Monday’s Red Sox-Mariners matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Jason Vargas||09.03.12 at 8:58 am ET|
The Red Sox will seek to end their recent string of abysmal pitching performances as they open up the final series of a so-far winless West Coast road trip with Clay Buchholz, in what will be his 100th major league start.
During the team’s current six-game losing streak, Boston’s starting rotation has posted an ERA of 12.18. Fortunately for Boston’s outlook on Monday, the best performance of the past six belonged to Buchholz, who went seven innings while giving up four runs, including two home runs.
The outing was an improvement from Buchholz’s previous start, in which he lasted 5 2/3 innings and surrendered seven runs to the Angels — easily his worst outing since returning from the DL. Leading up to that start, Buchholz had been on a roll, posting a 2.11 ERA over six starts following a mediocre performance in his first start off of the DL.
Monday’s start will be just the third time the 27-year-old Buchholz will face off against the Mariners, having last started against them in September 2010, going seven strong innings and giving up one run in a 5-1 victory. Only three current Mariners were in the lineup against Buchholz in that game: Chone Figgins, Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders. The one Mariner who does have a favorable matchup against Buchholz with a decent sample size is Figgins, who boasts a .833 OPS against him in 12 plate appearances, mostly when he was with the Angels. This season, Figgins is batting .185 through 62 games.
Starting opposite Buchholz will be left-hander Jason Vargas, who, unlike his counterpart, has a lot of recent experience against the opposition. The 29-year-old has already faced the Red Sox twice this season, taking the loss in a rough outing in May before getting a no-decision in a brilliant July start.
In their first matchup, the Red Sox notched doubles and two home runs against Vargas, who finished with five earned runs over six innings. However, the four Red Sox extra-base hits all came from players who will not be in Monday’s lineup (David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez, Kelly Shoppach and Daniel Nava).
Vargas fared much better in his second outing against the Red Sox when they came to Seattle at the beginning of July. Vargas lasted eight innings while giving up one run off of a solo home run by Dustin Pedroia in an eventual 2-1 Sox win in the 10th inning. However, even with the home run, Pedroia has posted meager numbers against Vargas, getting just one other hit and two walks off of him in 14 plate appearances.
Vargas comes into Monday’s game on a streak about as bad as the one many Sox starters are on. In his last two starts, Vargas has given up 11 earned runs, including five home runs, and failed to make it out of the fifth inning in either start.
Red Sox vs. Vargas (LHP)
Dustin Pedroia (14 plate appearances): .167 BA/.286 OBP/.417 SLG, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 walks
Jacoby Ellsbury (7): .286/.286/.286, 1 strikeout
Cody Ross (7): .429/.429/.429
Mike Aviles (6): .167/.167/.167
James Loney (5): .400/.400/.400, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2): .000/.000/.000
Mariners vs. Buchholz (RHP)
Chone Figgins (12 plate appearances): .333 BA/.500 OBP/.333 SLG, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 1 strikeout
John Jaso (10): .000/.364/.000, 1 double, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Franklin Gutierrez (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeouts
Miguel Olivo (3) .333/.333/.333
Michael Saunders has one walk in three plate appearances.
- Cup of Coffee: Bradley, Holt shine in PawSox loss
- Xander Bogaerts, Portland to headline Futures at Fenway
- SoxProspects Video of the Week: Matt Barnes
- Cup of Coffee: Henry, Diaz propel Pawtucket to blowout victory
- Cup of Coffee: Spring's walk-off grand slam lifts Portland
- Bradley: "Everything's back to normal"
- Cup of Coffee: PawSox, Drive produce walk-off wins
- PawSox activate Jackie Bradley, Jr. from disabled list
- Weekly Notes: De La Rosa, Betts take center stage
- Cup of Coffee: Shaw leads 18-hit attack in Sea Dogs rout