Padres face Buchholz, Red Sox Tuesday night
SAN DIEGO — After three straight appearances out of the bullpen, right-hander Clay Buchholz returns to the Boston rotation Tuesday night to face the Padres at Petco Park.
“Because of how he's been used, Clay might be fresher at this point of the season more than at any other time in his career,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said Monday.
“We excited. We're inserting a guy back into the rotation who is fresh.”
Not that Buchholz was struggling before going to the bullpen after his Aug. 23 start at Tampa Bay, where he allowed one run on five hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings.
“Tampa Bay was an encouraging start,” said Farrell. “His velocity was 94-95.”
Buchholz is 5-10 on the season with a 5.20 earned run average in 32 games (16 starts). But in his last five outings (two starts, three relief appearances), the right-hander has allowed four runs on 14 hits with four walks and 13 strikeouts over 15 1/3 innings for a 2.35 ERA.
And he has allowed two runs over 12 1/3 innings in his last two starts.
Of course, there is a new twist to Buchholz. He's working full time out of the stretch now.
“The reduction of body parts moving allows him to repeat his delivery more consistently,” said Farrell. “It has allowed his release point to be the same. He's executing a high number of pitches.”
The rebounding Buchholz might not be the biggest question facing the Red Sox Tuesday night as they oppose Padres right-handed starter Paul Clemens, who is 1-4 with a 4.79 ERA since joining the Padres on June 28 as a waiver claim from the Florida Marlins.
The Red Sox have scored one run over two straight losses after scoring 35 runs in three wins before that. When Chris Young homered as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of a 2-1 loss to the Padres Monday afternoon at Petco Park, it snapped a run of 16 straight scoreless innings by the Red Sox — their longest scoreless innings streak of the season.
Clemens might be the perfect medicine for the Red Sox short slump.
On the season, Clemens has a 4.93 ERA and has allowed 10 homers in a total of 45 2/3 innings.
Opposing batters have hit .277 against Clemens since he joined the Padres. He has given up five homers in 35 2/3 innings and has allowed fewer than three earned runs in only three of his first seven starts with the Padres while pitching into the sixth inning only once. His average start as a Padre has lasted 4 1/3 innings.
Last Wednesday, Clemens lasted only three innings in Atlanta, although he allowed only one earned run (two total) on four hits and two walks. He needed 82 pitches to negotiate the three innings.
“He has to be more efficient,” said Padres manager Andy Green. “It's very difficult to be successful to be a starter when you are continually working behind in the count and throwing upwards of 20 pitches an inning. That taxes not only the starter, but usually the bullpen.”
The Padres like Clemens stuff, particularly the breaking ball.