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Red Sox insist Clay Buchholz’s arm strength, not health, is the issue 04.21.14 at 6:06 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz allowed six runs in just 2 1/3 innings as the Red Sox lost to Baltimore, 7-5. (AP)

Clay Buchholz allowed six runs in just 2 1/3 innings as the Red Sox lost to Baltimore, 7-5. (AP)

It wasn’t the worst start of Clay Buchholz‘s career, but it was close. And so, after the right-hander struggled through 2 1/3 innings in which he allowed six runs on seven hits in a 7-6 loss to the Orioles while regularly featuring a fastball that didn’t crack 90 mph, the question had to be asked: Is he dealing with any physical issues that are undermining his performance at the start of the season?

“He doesn’€™t speak of any [physical issues],” said manager John Farrell, who described his starter as featuring stuff that was “a little bit flat” on Monday. “In all the physical testing that we do with all of our pitchers, it doesn’€™t indicate any deficit. Nothing present physically.”

So what is it? Buchholz suggested he’s merely in the stretch of the season where he’s still working to build arm strength. That *could* be interpreted as a red flag, and given that Buchholz has endured significant injuries in two of the past three years (back in 2011, shoulder in 2013), it’s natural to ask whether the pitcher is healthy given the arm strength issues. The Sox acknowledge that reality at a time when he’s struggled to a 7.71 ERA through four starts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mike Napoli, Clay Buchholz discuss pros, cons of baseball sleepover at 4:30 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz (left) and Mike Napoli were roommates at Fenway Sunday night with mixed results. (AP)

Clay Buchholz (left) and Mike Napoli were roommates at Fenway Sunday night with mixed results. (AP)

There’s very little that can truly scare Mike Napoli.

Sleeping on the bottom bunk of bed that has a grown man and starting pitcher on top qualifies.

Monday was one of those truly bizarre days at Fenway, thanks to the unkind schedule-maker and MLB that had the Red Sox play a nationally televised night game on ESPN hours before the traditional 11:05 a.m. Patriots’ Day contest.

To compensate, and to help Napoli get added treatment on a sore left kneecap, the Red Sox provided a solution. Years ago, when the Red Sox renovated their clubhouse, they put aside a room designed to allow staff, players and coaches to sleep in, if needed.

Sunday night into Monday morning provided just such a scenario.

“There’s two bunk beds in there,” Napoli told reporters after Monday’s 7-6 loss to the Orioles. “Just a dark room, blankets, pillows, all the necessary things to sleep.

“I didn’t want to deal with all the traffic. Just being here was easier. I knew it was going to be an early morning, so just stayed here. We have a sleep room upstairs. It’s convenient.”

Of course, Napoli had a sore kneecap because Orioles reliever Darren O’Day drilled him in the bottom of the ninth.

“I mean, I could move my leg around and run. It was just a little sore,” Napoli said.

There were three Red Sox players who elected to take advantage and avoid Monday’s traffic into the Fens. Napoli, Monday’s starter Clay Buchholz and John Lackey. So that meant someone had to bunk up. With Buchholz starting, Napoli and Lackey decided to split the other.

“I was bottom. Had Lackey above me,” Napoli said, before confessing he was “kind of scared he was going to fall through, to tell you the truth.”

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Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, ESPN
Monday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Wei-Yin Chen at 7:12 am ET
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The Red Sox will conclude their four-game series against the Orioles on Marathon Monday when they send Clay Buchholz to the mound against southpaw Wei-Yin Chen.

Buchholz has yet to replicate his early-season magic from 2013, when he looked like a Cy Young candidate. In 2014, the 29-year-old has gone 0-1, posting a 5.51 ERA and a 1.714 WHIP, both above his career averages, a 3.64 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.

The Texas native has shown improvement in his three starts, giving up less hits and putting his team in a position to win. His last start came Wednesday against the White Sox. Buchholz lasted six innings that day, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits, striking out six and walking two.

The Red Sox went on to win the game 6-4 in 14 innings. While Buchholz went six innings, he pitched 51 pitches in the first two innings.

“It was a little bit of a grind there for a couple of innings,” Buchholz said after the game. “It was sort of similar to [Jake Peavy] on [Tuesday] night. I had a long inning and sometimes you’ve got to find a way to pick your team up when things happen in an inning. Tried to battle to get through that first one.

“It’s tough to bounce back from a first inning like that. But this team, everybody knows they like to swing, so I was able to get through a couple of innings later on with a lot fewer pitches than I normally do.”

Buchholz has been successful in his career against the Orioles, posting a 9-3 record with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.276 WHIP in 16 games, 15 of them being starts. Buchholz first faced the Orioles in 2007, appearing twice, once as a starter and once from the bullpen. He combined to pitch 12 innings, allowing one hit and no runs, while striking out 12 and walking five.

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Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, Wei-Yin Chen
Wednesday’s Red Sox-White Sox matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. John Danks 04.16.14 at 8:16 am ET
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The Red Sox continue their series in Chicago on Wednesday when they send Clay Buchholz to the mound against the White Sox and left-hander John Danks.

After struggling in his first appearance of the season, Buchholz inched closer to form in his most recent outing despite picking up the loss. Buchholz gave up four runs, two of which were earned, on seven hits and six strikeouts during six innings against the Yankees last Thursday. New York went on to win that game 4-1.

“I felt a lot better,” Buchholz said after the game, (via MLB.com). “Just in the last five days, with my arm strength and everything, it got a lot better within a five-day span. Usually it doesn’t happen that quick. I felt a lot more comfortable with each pitch out there tonight. I’ve got to minimize the damage a little bit more in a couple of spots. Other than that I felt like I threw the ball pretty well.”

Buchholz last took on the White Sox on May 22, 2013, when he scattered five hits and just one run over seven innings on the mound. The game, which Boston eventually won 6-2, was Buchholz’€™s seventh victory of the season. Overall, Buchholz holds a 2-2 record in six starts against the White Sox with a 4.29 ERA and a WHIP of 1.29.

Danks comes into the start after earning his first win of the season last Thursday when he faced off against the Indians. After giving up two runs in the first, the 29-year-old lefty limited Cleveland to three overall runs on six hits and four strikeouts over six innings.

In his last appearance against the Red Sox — a game on Aug. 31, 2013 — Danks gave up six runs, five earned, on 11 hits over five innings. The loss was his 11th of the season and went along with a trend of Danks struggling against Boston. In nine starts, Danks has gone 3-6 with a 5.37 ERA and a WHIP of 1.44.

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, John Danks,
Closing Time: Michael Pineda spins a (controversial) beauty in beating Red Sox 04.10.14 at 10:03 pm ET
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The NESN broadcast showed a substance on the pitching hand of Yankees' pitcher Michael Pineda.

The NESN broadcast showed a substance on the pitching hand of Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda.

NEW YORK — Michael Pineda pitched very, very well Thursday night. How he did it, however, was a major topic of conversation throughout what turned into a 4-1 Yankees win over the Red Sox.

Pineda finished his six-inning outing allowing just one run on four hits, striking out seven and walking two. But while the righty was getting the Red Sox to chase slider after slider, talk heated up about what appeared to be a significant amount of pine tar on his the base of his pitching hand.

(To read more on the Pineda controversy, click here.)

Clay Buchholz — who came under similar suspicion a year ago when it was pointed out by Toronto broadcasters that he appeared to be using a foreign substance — pitched better than his first start of the season, but it still wasn’t good enough.

Buchholz gave up four runs (two earned) over six innings, striking out six and not walking a batter. The righty, who threw 94 pitches, surrendered seven hits.

Here is what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Jonathan Herrera, who had been solid defensively at third base, mishandled an easy chance off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury with nobody out in the fourth inning. The miscue opened the door for the Yankees‘€™ first run, with Brian McCann snapping an 0-for-14 stretch with an RBI single down the right field line, scoring Ellsbury.

– The Yanks made it 2-0 in the fourth when the Red Sox had to settle for a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Alfonso Soriano, letting Carlos Beltran score from third.

– The Red Sox weren’€™t able to manage a hit off of Pineda until the fifth, when Xander Bogaerts placed a one-out single into left field.

– Buchholz allowed Dean Anna‘€™s first major league homer in the fifth, laying in a 1-1 fastball the second baseman pulled into the right field seats for a 3-0 Yankees lead.

 WHAT WENT RIGHT

Daniel Nava made one of the best defensive plays of the young season, executing a full-on dive of a Yangervis Solarte fly ball leading off the Yankees‘€™ half of the third inning. Nava had to sprint in on the shallow pop-up, proceeding to leave his feet before hauling in first out in the home half of the frame.

– Nava went a long way toward snapping out of his slump, launching a solo home run to right field leading off the seventh inning to cut the Yanks’€™ lead to 4-1. One batter later, Bogaerts singled to drive Pineda from the game. For the Red Sox shortstop, it was his third multi-hit game of the season.

Craig Breslow appeared in his first big league game of the season, throwing a flawless frame.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Michael Pineda, Red Sox, Yankees
Red Sox lineup: Grady Sizemore in leadoff spot, playing left field against Yankees at 3:34 pm ET
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NEW YORK — With righty Michael Pineda on the mound for the Yankees Thursday night, the Red Sox have Grady Sizemore leading off and playing left field with Jackie Bradley Jr. in center. It marks the first time this season Sizemore has played left.

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup for the opener of their four-game series against the Yanks:

Grady Sizemore LF

Dustin Pedroia 2B

David Ortiz DH

Mike Napoli 1B

Daniel Nava RF

Xander Bogaerts SS

A.J. Pierzynski C

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Jonathan Herrera 3B

Clay Buchholz P

For all the matchups, click here.

For a series preview, click here.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, grady sizemore, Red Sox, Yankees
Thursday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Michael Pineda at 9:39 am ET
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The Red Sox on Thursday will begin their first series against the arch-rvial Yankees, a four-game tilt in New York, sending Clay Buchholz to the mound against Michael Pineda.

Buchholz will make his second start of the season, five days after Saturday’s appearance against the Brewers. The 29-year-old struggled in that game, lasting 4 1/3 innings and giving up six runs on 13 hits, including two home runs, while striking out three.

“It took a little bit to get loose,” Buchholz said after the game. “It was pretty cool out there. You don’t want to give up that many hits ever. They’re swinging early and putting balls in play.”

Buchholz ended up with a no-decision as Boston was able to come back and tie the game in the bottom of the sixth inning before falling in 11.

Buchholz has faced the Yankees 12 times (all starts), holding a 5-5 record with an ERA of 5.32 and a WHIP of 1.601. Last year Buchholz was dominant against the Yankees, going 3-0 in three games with an ERA of 0.50 and a WHIP of 0.94.

Pineda pitched well in his debut with the Yankees, his first major league start since 2011 (he had shoulder surgery in 2012 and pitched in the minors last year). Pineda went six innings against the Blue Jays on Saturday and allowed one run while striking out five. His performance wasn’t good enough, however, as he was saddled with the loss as the Yankees were shut out, 4-0.

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, Michael Pineda, New York Yankees
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