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Saturday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Mark Buehrle

05.11.13 at 9:15 am ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz will take the hill for the Red Sox on Saturday afternoon and face the Blue Jays for the second time in 2013. He’ll face off against Mark Buehrle, who is looking for his second win of the season.

It’s hard to forget Buchholz’s last outing against the Jays in Toronto back on the first day of this month. The start itself was an impressive one; Buchholz threw seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball, walking three and striking out eight. But it was the controversy stirred up by Toronto analysts Jack Morris and Dirk Hayhurst that prompted people across the country to take notice. The pair accused the right-hander of using an illegal substance to doctor the baseball, claiming that Buchholz’s was essentially throwing a spitball.

“It was all over his forearm, all over the lower part of his T-shirt, it’s all in his hair,” Morris said of a slick substance that was noticeable in screen captures of game footage. “I can’t prove anything,” he added. Hayhurst, who drew some criticism for his accusations, said “Look, I saw Clay Buchholz going to his forearm, where there was not skin-colored something there, taking two fingers, wiping it across, massaging said cream or Stickum or slickum or whatever the popular buzzword of today is, and then using it to grip the baseball. That’s illegal. You can’t do that.”

All eyes will be on Buchholz as he takes the mound on Saturday, but the starter seems unfazed by all of the claims. The American League Pitcher of the Month for April insisted that he was doing the same thing he’s always done: put rosin on him arm. “I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I definitely don’t think if I’d given up nine runs in 2 1/3 innings it would have been an issue. That’s my guess. I don’t know. It is what it is,” Buchholz said after the day after his outing in Toronto.

Buchholz, who had been nothing short of brilliant in his first six starts, struggled for the first time this season against the Twins in his last start on Monday night. The Sox righty gave up a season-high four runs in six innings on seven hits, throwing a season-high 116 pitches. Buchholz did not factor in the decision for the first time this season, remaining undefeated in 2013. Buchholz comes into Saturday with a 6-0 record and a 1.60 ERA in seven starts this season.

The Sox starter has enjoyed a lot of success against Toronto over the course of his career, owning a 9-4 record and 2.42 ERA (the lowest against an AL East rival) in 15 starts vs. the Jays. The Blue Jays are batting only .207 as a team against Buchholz with 81 strikeouts in 100 1/3 innings.

Buehrle joined the Blue Jays in the megatrade with the Marlins this past offseason. Buehrle, who spent 11 years pitching for the White Sox, has not been impressive in his return to the AL, coming into the series with a 1-2 record and 7.02 ERA in seven starts. The left-hander also has given up a league-leading 11 home runs in 41 innings.

The longballs really have been an issue for Buehrle, especially in his last few starts. He’s allowed eight home runs in his last three games (18 IP), including two starts in a row when he allowed three (one of which was his last start against the Red Sox, when he gave up home runs to Daniel Nava, Mike Napoli and David Ortiz). He took on Buchholz on May 1 in Toronto and came out on the losing end of the decision, giving up seven hits and five runs in 6 2/3 innings. His last time out wasn’t much better; Buehrle allowed nine hits and seven runs, including two home runs, to the Rays on Monday.

Buehrle has seen a lot of the Red Sox over the course of his career. He’s 6-9 lifetime against Boston with a 4.75 ERA and a 1.472 WHIP. In 19 starts against the Red Sox, he’s walked 36 while striking out 63 and allowing 17 home runs.

Blue Jays vs. Buchholz (RHP)

Adam Lind (40 PAs): .297 BA/.325 OBP/.514 SLG, 2 home runs, 2 doubles, 4 RBI, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts

Jose Bautista (32 PAs): .250/.313/.357, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts

Maicer Izturis (27 PAs): .391/.481/.522, 3 doubles, 5 RBI, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts

Edwin Encarnacion (22 PAs): .056/.227/.056, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts

Rajai Davis (17 PAs): .143/.294/.143, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

Brett Lawrie (15 PAs): .077/.143/.077, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

J.P. Arencibia (14 PAs): .000/.000/.000, 4 strikeouts

Melky Cabrera (12 PAs): .20//.333/.200, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Colby Rasmus (11 PAs): .125/.300/.125, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Munenori Kawasaki (2 PAs): .500/.500/.500, 1 strikeout

Henry Blanco, Emilio Bonifacio, and Mark DeRosa have not faced Buchholz.

Red Sox vs. Buehrle (LHP)

David Ortiz (68 PAs): .359/.397/.641, 3 HR, 9 doubles, 13 RBI, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (26 PAs): .292/.320/.417, 3 doubles, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Jonny Gomes (20 PAs): .400/.500/.600, 1 triple, 1 double, 2 RBI, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts

Mike Napoli (16 PAs): .231/.313/.462, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (14 PAs): .357/.357/.571, 1 triple, 1 double, 2 strikeouts

Shane Victorino (12 PAs): .364/.333/.727 1 HR, 1 double, 2 RBI, 1 strikeout

Will Middlebrooks (8 PAs): .571/.625/.571, 1 strikeout

David Ross (8 PAs): .250/.250/.250, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Stephen Drew (3 PAs): .333/.333/1.333, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Daniel Nava (3 PAs): .333/.333/.1.333, 1 HR, 1 RBI

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (3 PAs): .000/.000/.000

Mike Carp and Pedro Ciriaco have not faced Buehrle.

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