Notes: Buchholz throws well enough to win

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Notes: Buchholz throws well enough to win

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Over the last five games, Red Sox starters have combined for a collective ERA of 1.15. It should come as no surprise, correspondingly, that the Sox have been playing their best baseball of the season in that span and have won four of those five games.

Wednesday, it was Clay Buchholz's turn. Winless in his first three starts, Buchholz limited the A's to one run over the first five innings before tiring and walking his last two hitters in the sixth.

"Four walks made it a little more difficult," said Terry Francona. "His stuff is good. But he's got to pound the strike zone."

"There's definitely some stuff I have work on," said Buchholz. "At the same time, I was able to grind through and battle and we came out with the win."

Buchholz said he may need to tinker with his mechanics, but also hinted that he may have been squeezed in each of his final two walks. Those walks loaded the bases with A's in the sixth, and with his pitch count climbing to 103, hastened his exit.

Another ominous note for Buchholz: After allowing a solo homer to Coco Crisp in the first, he's allowed six homers in 20 13 innings. Last year, he gave up just nine all season.

Jed Lowrie's torrid stretch continued unabated. Playing third base, Lowrie had two more hits -- a fourth-inning single and a two-run homer in the sixth.

Lowrie has hit safely in eight of his last nine games and is hitting a scorching .462 this season. Despite limited playing time early on, he leads the team with 11 RBI.

"He's a huge threat," said Francona. "He's been a huge threat since last August. He's not just been getting hits; he's been getting extra-base hits."

"It's a nice hot streak," said Lowrie. "But I'm not really thinking about comparing it to anything I've done in the past. I'm just putting my head down and continuing to prepare and not think about it.

"I understand what's going on. I'm not nave. But at the same time, the more you think about it, the more you're just putting pressure on yourself in every at-bat. I'm just going to prepare like I have and know the results that I've gotten so far are the result of that preparation."

He also was robbed of extra bases in the first when Oakland right fielder David DeJesus made a leaping catch against the wall.

In Lowrie's last at-bat, DeJesus turned in another spectacular grab, catching a flyball by sliding into foul territory.

"I don't know what I did to make him mad," cracked Lowrie, "but I apologize. Those were two really good plays."

Reliever Alfredo Aceves did not travel with the team to Anaheim Wednesday night, instead readying for a flight back to Pawtucket.

Matt Albers, who has been on the DL with a lat pull since the home opener, is expected to re-join the team in southern California for the start of the four-game series with the Angels.

It's likely that Albers, who appeared in six games (2.25 ERA) out of the bullpen for the Sox, will go back into the rotation for Pawtucket so as to give the Sox some starting depth options.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Bogaerts hitting at a record-setting pace

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Bogaerts hitting at a record-setting pace

A change of scenery is a must for the Red Sox after the rough series in Texas, where they were lucky to walk away with one win.

The pitching staff's struggles were the most apparent, but Xander Bogaerts had arguably his worst series of the season -- 2-for-12 at the plate and two errors in the field.

Although Bogaerts now finds himself three points behind José Altuve (.347) for the American League batting lead, he still leads the major leagues with 108 hits. He has more hits than Daniel Murphy, who’s at .349 in the National League.

And despite his weekend struggles, the Boston shortstop is in position to make a run at history  -- the single-season hits record.

Bogaerts is already in a comfortable spot to break Wade Boggs’ Red Sox record of 240 hits, set in 1985. Through 74 games, Bogaerts has 10 more hits than the Hall-of-Famer had at that point in the season.

He's also ahead of the pace set in 2004 by Ichiro Suzuki, who established the MLB record for most hits in a season with 262 that year. Bogarts has five more hits than Ichiro had through 74 games.

There's no guarantee he'll reach 262, or anything close. Ichiro had a strong finishing kick in '04, batting .418 with 159 hits after his 74th game. In fact, in his final 74 games, he hit .433 with 141 hits. He's left challengers in the dust before: Altuve was equal to Ichiro's pace in 2014 -- both had 105 hits in their first 76 games -- but wound up with "only" 225 hits.

So, admittedly, Bogaerts is facing an uphill battle.

He does have a one advantage over Ichiro, though. In 2004, Suzuki -- still playing for the Mariners -- usually had Randy Winn hitting behind him. Although Winn was a respectable player, he doesn’t command the respect of the hitter who's usually behind Bogaerts: David Ortiz.

Opposing pitchers still don’t plan to attack Bogaerts, but it’d only be worse if pretty much anyone other than Ortiz was coming up next.

And there’s one last set of statistics to consider:

Suzuki finished 2004 with 80 games in which he had at least two hits. That’s 49.7 percent of the games he played in.

Bogaerts has done that 33 times -- 44.6 percent of his games. So he needs to string together some big games if he intends to make an improbable run at the 12-year-old record.

Improbable, yes.

But definitely not impossible.

McAdam: Red Sox have problems 'everywhere you look'

McAdam: Red Sox have problems 'everywhere you look'

Sean McAdam, Jared Carrabis, Bob Neumeier and Lou Merloni pull apart the Boston Red Sox roster to identify the key issues.