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Friday’s Red Sox-Royals matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. James Shields

04.19.13 at 10:09 am ET
By

Clay Buchholz

The Red Sox will open up a 10-game homestand Friday, facing a very familiar pitcher in Royals right-hander James Shields. Clay Buchholz will try to continue his remarkable start to the 2013 season in the Sox’ first game in front of the Fenway faithful since the horrific Boston Marathon bombings on Monday afternoon.

Through three starts this season, Buchholz is 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA and has only allowed 11 hits in 22 innings. On Sunday, Buchholz went eight shutout innings, allowing only two hits and four walks while striking out a career-high 11 batters, in a 5-0 win over the Rays. The right-hander’s no-hit bid was broken up by a Kelly Johnson single in the eighth inning.

“It’s fun to go out and pitch when you have all your pitches working,” Buchholz said. “It doesn’t happen every day. Probably five times a season for a starting pitcher.”

Buchholz is 3-1 with a 2.19 ERA in his career vs. the Royals. In 24 2/3 career innings, he has 17 strikeouts. The Sox have won the first game in each of their first five series this young season and will look to continue the impressive streak Friday.

Shields enters Friday’s start at 1-2 with a 3.43 ERA. He has allowed 20 hits and just three walks in 21 innings while striking out 20. Shields, along with Wade Davis, was traded from the Rays to the Royals during the offseason in exchange for highly touted prospect Wil Myers and others.

The Royals enter Friday’s game at 8-6. They have gone 4-4 on the road. In Shields’ most recent start, he pitched a complete game against the Blue Jays, allowing thee runs on two hits, one of them a two-run home run to Jose Bautista. That hit proved costly, as the Royals fell 3-2.

“He pitched a great ball game,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He threw 115 pitches, and if he could take one back, it would probably be the curveball to Bautista. He just got it up a little bit, and he’s one of the strongest guys in the league and he ended up hitting a two-run homer off it.”

During his time with the Rays, Shields had a very tough time against the Sox at Fenway, going 2-9 with a 5.86 ERA in 11 career starts. Dustin Pedroia has had the most success against Shields, with 16 hits, including two home runs. The only Royals hitter with any kind of success against Buchholz is Alex Gordon, who has three hits and a home run in four at-bats.

Royals vs. Buchholz (RHP)

Billy Butler (12 plate appearances): .222 BA/.333 OBP/.222 SLG, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Miguel Tejada (8): .250/.250/.250

Alex Gordon (6): .750/.833/1.500, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Elliot Johnson (5): .200/.200/.200, 3 strikeouts

Chris Getz (2): .000/.000/.000

Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson, Alcides Escobar, Jeff Francoeur, Eric Hosmer, George Kottaras, Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez have never faced Buchholz.

Red Sox vs. Shields (RHP)

David Ortiz (65 plate appearances): .298/.385/.632, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 10 doubles, 8 walks, 9 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (53): .320/.358/.480, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 doubles, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (48): .244/.292/.422, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 doubles, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts

Mike Napoli (18): .222/.222/.444, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 double, 6 strikeouts

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (16): .000/.125/.000, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Daniel Nava (9): .250/.333/.625, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Mike Carp (4): .250/.250/.500, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Pedro Ciriaco (3): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts

Stephen Drew (3): .333/.333/.333

Jonny Gomes (3): .500/.667/.500, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Will Middlebrooks (3): 1.000/1.000/1.333, 1 double, 2 RBI

David Ross and Shane Victorino have never faced Shields.

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