Valentine on Buchholz: 'We need him'

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Valentine on Buchholz: 'We need him'

BOSTON -- A couple weeks ago, Clay Buchholz said that he felt like the only pitcher in major League Baseball who was complaining about getting wins.

Kind of, sort of true.

Surprisingly, Buchholz and his 9.09 ERA has the most wins on the Red Sox, with three, entering his seventh start of the season on Friday night, against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park.

In his previous six starts, Buchholz has yet to allow less than five runs. Needless to say, his 3-1 record is mostly a product of tremendous run support.

But make no mistake about it, Buchholz is a key component to Boston's success in 2012. If not for the sake of what he brings to the rotation every fifth start, then for the sake of saving the bullpen from any more six-inning appearances.

"I think our starters have to get it together," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine before Friday's game. "They're capable. They have quality. And maybe a couple hard-hit balls will get caught tonight, and we'll get on a role."

Buchholz obviously hopes he can limit the number of balls that are hit hard, and avoid that one big inning that opposing teams seem to have on him every time he steps on the mound.

"Well I think he has to take the responsibility, that, we're in a situation where we need him, and perform the way he's capable of performing," said Valentine on Friday.

"I never give up on a player until he gives up on himself, and I haven't seen that happen with Clay," added the Red Sox manager. "He's still working hard. He and Bob McClure are trying to solve this puzzle. I'm confident that the trust that I have in my coaches is going to pay off, because they're going to solve the puzzle. But is it difficult? Yes."

As for the rest of the rotation, Valentine says the solution is simple.

"Pitch better," he said. "I'm not going to start the bullpen and then have the starters end the game, or any of that stuff. The guys that we had designated as our starters, have to just go out and pitch better. I don't know any other way to express that."

Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Notes, quotes and stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Rays:

QUOTES:

* "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully, the tests come back clean.'' -Andrew Benintendi, on the uncertainty surrounding his knee injury.

* "Sometimes, I like that, sometimes I don't because I'd kind of take a couple of quick outs in place of those to get a couple of more innings out there.'' -Drew Pomeranz on his career high 11 strikeouts.

* "That's probably the spot that looms the largest. Jackie's become more aggressive early in the count, but at the same time, that aggressiveness can work against you.'' -Farrell on Jackie Bradley Jr. swinging at the first pitch following a walk with the bases loaded.

NOTES:

* Drew Pomeranz recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts

 * Since moving to the leadoff spot, Dustin Pedroia has a slash line of .397/.418/.460 in 16 games.

* Pomeranz has yielded two runs or fewer in five consecutive starts.

* On the just-completed road trip, the Red Sox led in all but one game.

* Thursday's loss was the fourth this season in which the Sox allowed two runs or fewer.

 * The past 18 Red Sox losses have come by a combined 37 runs.

* Until Thursday, the Red Sox had won 20 of their past 31 day games.

* The bottom third of the makeshift Red Sox lineup combined to go 2-for-12.

* The Sox missed out on a chance to have an eight-win road trip, which would have been their first since 2011.

STARS:

1) Jake Odorizzi

The Rays started, facing a depleted Red Sox lineup, limited the Sox to a single run over seven innings, allowing just five hits and getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam by allowing just one run.

2) Mikie Mahtook

Mahtook was 0-for-34 when facing Drew Pomeranz in the seventh inning, but that didn't stop him from doubling home Steven Souza Jr with what proved to be the winning run.

3) Dustin Pedroia

The Sox couldn't generate much of anything at all offensively, but don't blame Pedroia. The leadoff hitter had three hits and a walk and was on base four times for the Sox.