Buchholz has eventful game but loses

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Buchholz has eventful game but loses

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. It was an eventful night for starter Clay Buchholz, and in the end, not one that resulted in a victory.

Along the way, there was a balk leading to a run, a hit batsman and a comebacker which struck his heel, helping to lead to his exit quicker than he would have liked.

Still, there was progress.

Following a stretch of six straight starts to open the season in which he allowed five earned runs or more each time, Buchholz contributed his second straight impressive start in a 21 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

He pitched into the sixth, and after being hit on the left heel by a ball hit back up the middle, came out after just 87 pitches.

"I felt like, overall, everything was good," said Buchholz. "My changeup came back tonight and I felt really good throwing that. I was able to locate curveballs early in the count and use it as a finish pitch, too."

Both runs charged to Buchholz came under somewhat bizarre circumstances. He balked home the first run when his cleat got caught on the mound as he attempted to try a fake-to-third-to-first move. Then, in the sixth, he allowed a sharp single back to the mound which clipped him on the left heel and caromed across the infield.

One batter later, he was out, and one batter after that, Joyce scored the only other Tampa Bay run of the game.

"I think it was more (a factor) after I came out," he said of the heel. "It was a little sore. It's nothing big. I didn't even have to get x-rays. You always want to stay out there. If your runs get cashed in, you want to be the guy that cashes them in and give the reliever a fresh inning."

Buchholz chose to emphasize the return of his changeup, which had been spotty for the first six weeks, as the night's most positive development.

"It's been a while since I've been able to throw it with some conviction," he said, "on 2-and-2 counts, or 1-and-2 counts to get a strikeout. But yeah, it's a big pitch for me."

"He pitched much better tonight," said Valentine. "He came up with a newfound changeup and I thought it really helped his repertoire. He controlled the head of the bat much better and got swings and misses."

"There's always things you can work on," said Buchholz. "But I feel like I've put in a lot of work on the side to the point where I can go out, pitch with confidence and use all of my pitches. It's still a work in progress, but going out and throwing against a team like this and holding them to two runs, it's good to go out and throw that way."

Thursday's Red Sox-Angels lineups: Sox kick off road trip with Price

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Thursday's Red Sox-Angels lineups: Sox kick off road trip with Price

The Boston Red Sox send David Price (9-7, 4.51 ERA) to the mound to kick of their long road trip against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The Angels will counter with righty Jered Weaver (8-8, 5.32 ERA).

The lineups:

RED SOX

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Sandy Leon C
Brock Holt LF

David Price LHP

ANGELS
Yunel Escobar 3B
Kole Calhoun RF
Mike Trout CF
Albert Pujols DH
Jefry Marte 1B
Andrelton Simmons SS
Jett Bandy C
Gregorio Petit LF
Johnny Giavotella 2B

Jered Weaver RHP

McAdam: Poor homestand puts Red Sox on tough road

McAdam: Poor homestand puts Red Sox on tough road

The Red Sox had their chance.

They could have beefed up during the just-completed homestand and taken advantage of the worst team in the American League (Minnesota) and another that was only three games over .500 when it came to town (Detroit).

Instead, the Red Sox were just 2-5 in the last seven games at Fenway, losing ground in the standings to the Orioles and Blue Jays rather than making the race tighter.

That's not to suggest the Red Sox played their way out of contention in the last week. There are better than two months remaining in the season and the schedule isn't yet two-thirds complete.

Moreover, there is no dominant team in the East, and, thus, no one capable of pulling away and leaving the rest of the teams in their wake.

Baltimore and Toronto are flawed, too, as the first 100 or so games of the season have demonstrated.

But what the disappointing homestand means is this: Because they didn't win as much as they should at Fenway in the last week, the Sox will have to make up for that on the road.

As has been talked about ad nauseum in the last week, the schedule is about to become more demanding for the Red Sox. It's bad enough that they're in the middle of a stretch that will see them enjoy one (1) day off in the span of 44 days. Making matters worse is that 41 of the final 63 games are away from home -- including the next 11.

Put another way: The Red Sox have not yet had a three-city road trip this season, but all four of their remaining trips are of the three-city variety, including two that include travel to the West Coast.

The Red Sox have played fairly well on the road (21-19) -- they're one of just four teams in the American League with a winning road record -- but the simple fact remains: It's harder to win on the road than it is at home. And that's before you take into consideration the toll that lengthy road trips can take.

Of the next three road opponents, one has a losing record, and another is just two games over .500. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers, next weekend's interleauge road opponent, are playoff contenders from among that group.

Then again, the Red Sox thought they could roll over the Twins last weekend and came away with a four-game split, so it's difficult to handicap these things.

It should help, too, that the Red Sox are getting healthier.

Junichi Tazawa returned this week, and Craig Kimbrel could be back as early as Monday in Seattle. Chris Young and Josh Rutledge could rejoin them before they head out on their next road swing in mid-August.

With all the talk of the daunting schedule and demanding travel ahead, Dustin Pedroia was having none of it.

"We can play just as well on the road as we have at home,'' said Pedroia. "That stuff (the schedule) is irrelevant.''

Maybe. But one way or another, we're about to find out.

Source: Sox seek smaller pieces, not big names, at trade deadline

Source: Sox seek smaller pieces, not big names, at trade deadline

BOSTON -- According to an N.L. talent evaluator who is familiar with some of the Red Sox ongoing talks with teams leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, the Sox seem focused on adding a bullpen piece and/or back-end starters.

The need for the former is rather obvious, given the current injuries to Criag Kimbrel and Koji Uehara. The Sox can use some upgrades and another experienced arm to guide them through the final two months.

As for the rotation, it's not a surprise that the Sox aren't serious bidders for more glamorous names like Chris Sale, since that would require them to gut their farm system.

But the team's starter depth is perilous, with only Clay Buchholz in reserve. It makes perfect sense that the Sox would be seeking someone else to help provide them with insurance against further injuries or under-performance.