|Sunday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Carlos Villanueva||09.09.12 at 9:22 am ET|
After becoming the newly crowned cellar-dwellers of the AL East, the Red Sox will send Clay Buchholz out to the hill on Sunday in hopes of climbing out last place in the division.
During Boston’s disastrous West Coast road trip, Buchholz (11-5, 4.47) was the one Sox starter who avoided an implosion on the mound in both of his starts. Buchholz allowed four runs over seven innings against the Angels on Aug. 28 and gave up three earned runs over seven innings six days later against the Mariners. Though he took the loss in both outings, Buchholz’s two starts were easily the best of any Red Sox starter.
Sunday, Buchholz will take the mound against one of the best matchups he could possibly hope for in the Blue Jays. In a career 13 starts against Toronto, Buchholz has a 3-1 record with a 2.55 ERA, his second-lowest mark against an AL opponent. Buchholz last faced the Jays on June 1, limiting them to solo home runs by Yunel Escobar and David Cooper in eight innings of work en route to a 7-2 win.
Buchholz has been especially dominant against the lineup he will see on Sunday, posting a .165 batting average against with a .529 OPS against. The two matchups that will not be in his favor will be against Adam Lind and Escobar, who have OPS totals of .953 and 1.017, respectively, against Buchholz. The rest of the lineup has just two batters with averages higher than .111 against Buchholz and just one that has hit over .200 against him.
The Blue Jays will send out righty Carlos Villanueva in hopes of pushing the Red Sox further into last place. Villanueva has faced the Red Sox twice this season, each time in a different capacity. After coming out of the bullpen in their first meeting on June 2, Villanueva was the starter in their second meeting on July 21, giving up three runs over 6 1/3 innings in a 7-3 Blue Jays win.
Villanueva (7-5, 3.42) enters Sunday’s game coming off of his roughest outing of the season, a six-run, 6 2/3-inning affair against the Orioles on Sept. 4. The six runs are the most Villanueva has surrendered all season and is the first time he has given up more than four runs as a starter this season since entering the starting rotation at the end of June.
Historically, Villanueva has not fared well against Boston’s current lineup, which is collectively batting .281 with a .905 OPS against Villanueva in 35 plate appearances. Though the matchups are limited sample sizes, each Red Sox hitter that has faced Villanueva, save Scott Podsednik and Mike Aviles in one at-bat, has an OPS over .900 against Villanueva.
Blue Jays vs. Buchholz (RHP)
Adam Lind (30 plate appearances): .345 BA/.367 OBP/.586 SLG, 1 double, 2 home runs, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Yunel Escobar (14) .222/.462/.566, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 4 walks
Jeff Mathis (13): .111/.308/.111, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts
J.P. Arencebia (11): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts
Edwin Encarnacion (11): .091/.091/.091, 2 strikeouts
Rajai Davis (9): .000/.222/.000, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Kelly Johnson (7): .000/.167/.000, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Omar Vizquel (6): .200/.333/.200, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Brett Lawrie (4): .000/.000/.000
Mike McCoy (4): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Colby Rasmus (4): .333/.500/.333, 1 strikeout
Red Sox vs. Villanueva (RHP)
Dustin Pedroia (8 plate appearances): .286 BA/.375 OBP/.714 SLG, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Jacoby Ellsbury (6): .400/.500/.400, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Cody Ross (5): .500/.600/.750, 1 double, 1 walk
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (5): .200/.200/.800, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 1 strikeout
James Loney (4): .250/.250/.750, 1 triple
Scott Podsednik (4): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Pedro Ciriaco (2): .500/.500/.500, 1 double
Mike Aviles (1): .000/.000/.000
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