Closing Time: Clay Buchholz fails to deliver once again as Yankees take 2 of 3 at Fenway
|08.03.14 at 11:51 pm ET|
It was an ideal scenario for Clay Buchholz.
Taking the hill Sunday against the Yankees for the first time as the new de-facto leader of a gutted Red Sox rotation, Buchholz was given seven runs of support from a normally listless Red Sox lineup.
And yet — as its been for most of the 2014 season — Buchholz found a way to hand a win to an opposing team, surrendering seven runs on eight hits while walking five in five innings en route to an 8-7 Yankees victory at Fenway Park.
Buchholz labored throughout his outing, repeatedly failing to hold leads. After Boston jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in the first inning, Buchholz responded by giving up three runs of his own in the second to knot the game at 3-3.
A similar scenario occurred in the top of the fifth inning. After the Red Sox tacked on an additional two runs in the bottom of the fourth to push the score to 7-4 in favor of Boston, Buchholz allowed three runs in the next frame to once again tie the score at seven runs apiece.
Buchholz has allowed 14 earned runs over his last 10 innings while his usual strong command has withered — walking 13 batters over his last three outings.
“I think there’s maybe a little bit of a tendency to pitch a little bit too fine that’s caused him to fall behind in the count,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game. “Mechanically, he may be running away from his arm a little bit where it’s causing some pitches to be missed up to the arm side, but still, it’s the overall pitch mix and command to each.”
Buchholz spoiled an impressive showing from a Boston lineup that scored at least seven runs for the first time since the team doled out 14 runs against the Blue Jays on July 21.
“We swung the bats pretty good the last few days, so we’ve got to build on that, we’ve just got to find a way to score more than the other team,” Pedroia said.
While the score tied entering the top of the sixth inning, Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner crushed an offering from Craig Breslow into the seats behind the Red Sox bullpen, giving New York a one-run lead that it would not relinquish.
With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 49-62 on the season and have lost 10 of their last 12 games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
— Buchholz did little to instill confidence in those doubting his ability to take over as ace of the Red Sox rotation going forward, allowing seven earned runs for the second start in a row while walking five batters. After allowing just five runs over 22 1/3 innings from July 1-13, Buchholz has surrendered 23 runs over his last 22 innings of work.
— Jackie Bradley Jr. continues to slide at the plate. The Red Sox center fielder finished the night 0-for-4 , extending his hitless streak to 24 at-bats. Bradley’s average has dropped from .234 to .218 over the course of 11 games.
— Breslow took the loss for the Red Sox, as the southpaw reliever surrendered the go-ahead home run to Gardner in the sixth inning. Breslow, who allowed no runs over a five-game stretch from July 21-28, now has given up a run in back-to-back outings.
“He’s made some pitches out in the middle of the plate — yesterday to [Mark] Teixeira, today to Gardner. I felt like it was an inning in which he matches up well and the pitch just stays out over the plate to Gardner,” Farrell said.
— Xander Bogaerts had another rough night at the plate, striking out three times while grounding into a double play in the first inning. Bogaerts is hitless in his last 11 at-bats.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
— Ortiz led the way for the Red Sox on offense, blasting a home run and collecting three RBIs on the night. Ortiz jumped on an 89 mph fastball from Yankees reliever Chase Whitley, depositing it past the triangle in center field for his 26th round tripper on the season. Ortiz has knocked in nine of the Red Sox‘ 22 runs over their last seven games.
— Pedroia continues to swing a hot bat, finishing the night 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs. Pedroia’s big hit came in the second, as the Red Sox second baseman took a first-pitch fastball from David Phelps into the Green Monster seats for a two-run home run — his fifth on the season and first at Fenway since May 2. Pedroia’s average has been on the upswing, as he’s hitting .429 (12-for-28) over his last seven games while posting five consecutive multi-hit games.
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