Clay Buchholz hasn’t had any success in one ballpark in his home state of Texas. Now he will make his first start in the one that’s closer to where he is from.
The Boston Red Sox starter has a gameplan to try to take advantage of a Houston Astros club that has struck out more times than any AL club in Sunday’s series finale.
Buchholz (3-5, 6.11 ERA) is 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA in four starts in Arlington against Texas heading into his first one at Minute Maid Park. He hails from Nederland, Texas – about a 90-minute drive east of Houston.
The right-hander won his lone start against the Astros on April 25, 2013. He allowed two runs while striking out 10 over 7 2-3 innings in a 7-2 home victory.
The strikeout total is a distinct memory of that outing for Buchholz. Houston (40-55) has struck out 835 times in 2014, including 17 in splitting the first two games of this series.
"Young and aggressive, a team that you got to definitely mix your pitches with and don’t get in too many predictable fastball counts, because that’s what they like to hit," Buchholz told MLB’s official website. "I like them to swing. I rely on movement for the most part, and movement induces mishits. That’s sort of my gig."
Buchholz is 1-1 with a 3.92 ERA in three starts since missing a month due to a hyperextended left knee.
Chris Carter had a double in three at-bats against Buchholz last year. Carter has batted .375 during a career-best eight-game hitting streak in which he has six homers and 10 RBIs.
Astros rookie George Springer returned in Saturday’s 3-2 win after missing one game with right knee problems. Springer starred in college at Connecticut and grew up rooting for the Red Sox.
"It’s crazy just to be on the same field as them," Springer said. "I’ve always been a fan of them my whole life. It’s awesome."
Springer had two homers and four RBIs in his previous two games before going 0 for 3 on Saturday, but he made his presence felt. He was intentionally walked in the eighth inning and later beat out a throw to second base, allowing Jose Altuve to score the go-ahead run on an infield hit by Carter.
"That’s really good," said Altuve, who doubled twice and leads the majors with 130 hits. "He’s a guy that can do everything and that was the big thing in the game."
Boston (42-52) had its three-game win streak snapped even though David Ortiz reached the 20-homer plateau for the 13th straight season. He needs one homer to reach 452 for his career to tie Carl Yastrzemski for 36th place on the all-time list.
The Astros will start Brad Peacock (3-5, 4.30), who ended a four-start winless slide Tuesday by limiting Texas to two runs in 5 2-3 innings in an 8-3 road victory.
The right-hander has faced Boston once, surrendering five runs over 3 1-3 innings in an 8-4 defeat April 27, 2013.