Blue Jays-Red Sox Preview
After ending their slide behind one of the top left-handers in baseball, the Boston Red Sox hope their elite right-hander can put together a similar effort.
Boston (22-14) avoided its seventh loss in eight games behind Jon Lester's masterpiece Friday to open this three-game set at Fenway Park.
The southpaw fired a one-hitter in a 5-0 win over the Blue Jays to snap the team's three-game losing streak. Lester didn't walk a batter while improving to 5-0.
"He carved us up pretty good," Toronto manager John Gibbons told MLB's official website. "It happens. We're a free-swinging team, there's no question about that."
It doesn't figure to get any easier for Gibbons' club as they face Buchholz (6-0, 1.60 ERA), who joins Tampa Bay's Matt Moore and Washington's Jordan Zimmermann as the majors' only six-game winners.
Buchholz, also among baseball's best in ERA, won his first six outings before leaving without a victory Monday. He allowed a season-high four runs and seven hits over a season-low six innings in a 6-5 home win over Minnesota.
"I didn't do anything differently," said Buchholz, who has 44 strikeouts in 36 2-3 innings at Fenway. "I gave up runs."
Buchholz had won his previous start May 1 in Toronto, giving up two hits and striking out eight over seven shutout innings in a 10-1 victory. He's 6-1 with a 1.67 ERA in nine starts versus the Blue Jays since the start of 2010.
Adam Lind has the most at-bats versus Buchholz among all major leaguers, going 11 for 37 (.297) with two homers, but has only two hits in the last 13 against him. Buchholz has been particularly tough on Edwin Encarnacion (1 for 18) and J.P. Arencibia (0 for 14).
Since hitting .357 with eight homers and 24 runs over a three-game winning streak, the Blue Jays (13-24) are batting .182 with one homer and eight RBIs in three straight losses.
Brett Lawrie is in a 2-for-28 slump and Colby Rasmus is 2 for 17 in his last five.
Toronto's offensive woes don't bode well for the struggling Mark Buehrle (1-2, 7.02), who has one of the highest ERAs in the majors and hasn't won since April 15.
The left-hander is 0-2 with an 8.50 ERA over his last three starts while yielding eight home runs. He's allowed six homers over his last two outings against the Red Sox, including three in the May 1 loss to Buchholz.
Buehrle is 0-4 with a 5.50 ERA in his past six starts against Boston.
David Ortiz is 6 for 16 with four extra-base hits off Buehrle in that span and has a .359 career average against him, but he enters in an 0-for-13 drought.
Dustin Pedroia, 2 for 3 with an RBI on Friday, is hitting .487 with seven RBIs in his last 10 games at Fenway.