Monday's Red Sox-Braves matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Ervin Santana

May 26, 2014 - 4:53 am
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The Red Sox try to snap their 10-game losing streak Monday afternoon in Atlanta when they send Clay Buchholz to the mound against Ervin Santana. Buchholz (2-4, 6.32 ERA) has looked so surprisingly bad this season that his last start left some questioning if he's been pitching at 100 percent. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 7.80 ERA in his last three starts after dropping a 6-4 decision to the Blue Jays in his last outing on Wednesday. Buchholz gave up five runs (four earned) on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings as the Sox stumbled to what was then their sixth straight loss. Despite the obvious struggles, Buchholz, who missed three full months in 2013 due to injury, attributed none of it to any physical ailments. "As far as stuff goes, I felt like I had the best stuff velocity-wise that I've had all year,'€ Buchholz said after the game. "There'€™s absolutely nothing physical bothering me. It'€™s tough to go out there, and if you miss one pitch, it gets hit every time. It'€™s where I'€™m at right now. I'€™m frustrated." Said manager John Farrell: "[He showed] inconsistent command. Far too many at-bats where he pitched behind in the count. Uncharacteristic, from what we know of Clay, is that mistakes found their way to the middle of the plate. We found ourselves down quickly 4-0, and we'€™re digging out of a hole from the third inning on. I thought there was better finish to his stuff from the middle of the third inning to, unfortunately, the time he came out of the game, but physically there'€™s no complaints, no issues. We've got to make either an adjustment or a correction mechanically because too many misfires up to the arm side." Buchholz will try to break out of this mysterious rut when he takes on the Braves for the first time in his career on Monday. The 29-year-old is 4-0 lifetime in interleague play with a 4.40 ERA, but Monday will mark just his second start against a National League opponent this season. His first came at Fenway Park on April 5 when he allowed six runs on 13 hits over 4 1/3 innings in a 7-6 loss to the Brewers. It was Buchholz's first start of the season. Santana (4-2, 3.42 ERA) has cooled off in his last two starts after a scorching hot start to his first season in Atlanta. The right-hander was 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA in his first six starts, but since has allowed 11 runs over 12 innings in his last two outings, suffering consecutive losses in the process. Santana surrendered the first grand slam of his career in his last start against the Brewers on Wednesday courtesy of Mark Reynolds in the first inning, and allowed a season-high four walks, throwing just 60 of his 100 pitches for strikes. In total, he gave up six runs on nine hits with just two strikeouts over seven innings in a 6-1 loss to Milwaukee. "It was almost every pitch. In the first few innings I didn't have any location," Santana said after the game. "For the most part I was trying to keep the ball down. That's what happens when you make mistakes." Santana'€™s last start against the Red Sox was an ugly one. The 31-year-old lasted just 3 2/3 innings in a 9-6 Royals win on Aug. 9, 2013, allowing six runs on nine hits with a pair of walks and strikeouts. Santana is 4-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 13 career games against the Sox. Red Sox vs. Santana (RHP) A.J. Pierzynski (36 plate appearances): .229 AVG/.250 OBP/.457 SLG, 2 HR, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts David Ortiz (35): .367/.457/.767, 3 HR, 3 doubles, 6 RBIs, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts Dustin Pedroia (28): .200/.286/.280, 2 doubles, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts Mike Carp (24): .250/.375/.400, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts Grady Sizemore (24): .238/.333/.429, 1 triple, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts Mike Napoli (23): .368/.478/1.000, 3 HR, 3 doubles, 10 RBIs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts Jonny Gomes (20): .167/.250/.500, 2 HR, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts Daniel Nava (12): .182/.250/.182, 1 RBI, 4 strikeouts Jonathan Herrera (3): .000/.000/.000 Brock Holt is hitless in two career plate appearances. David Ross struck out in his lone appearance. Braves vs. Buchholz (RHP) B.J. Upton (29 plate appearances): .269 AVG/.345 OBP/..462 SLG, 1 HR, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts Gerald Laird (8): .143/.250/.143, 1 walk Ryan Doumit (6): .200/.333/.200, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts Justin Upton (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout Ramiro Pena has a double in two career plate appearances vs. Buchholz.

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