Red Sox-Blue Jays preview: Buchholz looks to rebound

Red Sox-Blue Jays preview: Buchholz looks to rebound
April 26, 2014, 11:45 am
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TORONTO -- A year ago, Clay Buchholz won his first six starts and suffered one loss in 16 outings during an injury-shortened season for the Red Sox.

Set to make his fifth start of 2014, the right-hander is still searching for that first victory.

Coming off one of the worst starts of his career, Buchholz hopes to rebound by continuing his road success against the struggling Blue Jays on Saturday.

Buchholz (0-2, 7.71 ERA) allowed only five runs and struck out 47 while going 6-0 to begin a 2013 season that saw him finish 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA after missing three months because of a neck/shoulder strain.

It's been the complete opposite this season for Buchholz, who has allowed six runs twice. He's had trouble regaining his arm strength after dealing with shoulder problems last regular season and fatigue issues during the playoffs.

"It feels like it's getting better," he told the Red Sox's official website. "I'm struggling with [late-inning velocity] a little bit right now. But that'll come together.

"It's still pretty early. We still have a lot of time left in this first half to pull it all together and go from there."

Buchholz certainly seems to have figured out how to pitch in homer-happy Toronto. He's 7-0 with a 1.11 ERA in his last eight starts at Rogers Centre, and he's only given up two career homers there in 66 1/3 innings.

He yielded two hits over seven scoreless innings of a 10-1 win in his only appearance there in 2013.

-- Dustin Pedroia, who had a pair of hits in Friday night's 8-1 Red Sox victory, is batting .364 in the last eight games and is 9-for-21 in his last four at Rogers Centre. He's 12-for-23 with four doubles and two home runs against today's Blue Jays starter, Brandon Morrow (1-1, 5.03).

-- Morris is 1-3 with a 9.07 ERA in nine starts against the Red Sox, including 0-1 with a 9.13 ERA in five at home. He's yet to last more than six innings in any of his four 2014 starts. He gave up two runs in five while not factoring in the decision of a 6-4 loss at Cleveland on Sunday.

-- David Ortiz is 7-for-17 with three homers and a double against Morrow.

-- Toronto pitchers have a 9.00 ERA and have allowed six home runs and walked 13 during the team's season-high three-game losing streak, with all of the losses coming at home.

-- Juan Francisco homered and had two of Toronto's six hits Friday. He's 7-for-20 in six games since he was called up from the minors last Saturday.

-- Edwin Encarnacion, who went 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts Friday, is 1-for-21 versus Buchholz.

From STATS Inc.