Clay Buchholz

Monday's Red Sox-Phillies matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Cole Hamels

April 06, 2015 - 4:24 am

The Red Sox will kick off a 2015 season full of optimism by sending Clay Buchholz to the mound to face Cole Hamels. There have been many questions throughout spring training surrounding Boston's starting rotation, specifically who would serve as the ace of the staff. For the start of the season at least, Buchholz will try to fill that role. Buchholz, who finished last season with an 8-11 record, a 5.34 ERA and a 1.386 WHIP, had a decent spring training but will need to improve to truly become an MLB ace. This spring he made five starts, going 2-2 with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.632 WHIP. The two most promising stats for Buchholz in preseason play are strikeouts per nine innings (10.1) and walks per nine innings (1.9), both of which are much better than any he has posted in his career. In Buchholz' last spring start on Wednesday, he threw four shutout innings against the Twins, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out four in a game that ended in a 4-4 tie. Buchholz left the game with a 1-0 lead, but Minnesota scored three off of Alexi Ogando in the fifth. The Sox were able to score three in the top of the ninth, but the Twins scored one in their half to tie the game. "€œI felt like the movement on each pitch was more defined today,"€ Buchholz told reporters after the start. "All the mis-hits they hit were basically sinker/cutters. Changeup. There was not a whole lot of hard contact. That'€™€™s sort of what you want when you'€™€™re out there, is contact. I think the hardest contact was Torii [Hunter]'€™€™s double play ball. Overall, I felt really good with everything.'€" Monday will be Buchholz' first career appearance against Philadelphia. Buchholz will be matched up opposite Hamels, who has been in the headlines for reasons other than his pitching recently. Hamels has been the center point of several trade rumors in Philadelphia, most notably one that involved him potentially headming to Boston. In February Hamels told USA Today, "I just want to win. ... And I know it's not going to happen here." Since then, there has been growing consensus that the veteran lefty will not be in Philly much longer. Recently, ESPN analyst Buster Olney told Middays with MFB, "'€œI have no doubt that Cole Hamels will be traded by July 31." However, despite the rumors, Hamels has been named the Phillies' Opening Day starter. Last season Hamels threw well, going 9-9 with a 2.46 ERA and a 1.148 WHIP. In six starts in spring training, he has regressed a bit with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.385 WHIP on his way to a 1-1 record. His 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings and 3.3 walks per nine innings are notably worse than his career averages. In his most recent start, Hamels faced the Braves and recorded his only win of the spring. He threw six innings, allowing only one earned run (two runs total) with six hits, three strikeouts and a walk. His lone mistake was a second-inning solo home run allowed to Atlanta's Joe Benson. Hamels has had success in five career starts against the Red Sox. He is 4-0 with a 1.97 ERA, a .906 WHIP, 32 strikeouts and six walks. Red Sox vs. Hamels (LHP) Hanley Ramirez (71 plate appearances): .273 AVG/.324 OBP /.530 SLG, 2 home runs, 6 RBIs, 16 strikeouts Pablo Sandoval (33): .281/.303/.531, 2 HRs, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 1 walk Dustin Pedroia (15): .333/.333/.667, 1 HR, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts Allen Craig (13): .308/.308/.692, 1 HR, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 3 strikeouts Ryan Hanigan (9): .200/.556/.200, 4 walks Daniel Nava (6): .200/.167/.400, 1 double, 1 RBI Sandy Leon (3): .667/.667/1.000, 1 double, 1 strikeout David Ortiz has one strikeout in three plate appearances vs. Hamels. Mike Napoli has two strikeouts in two plate appearances vs. Hamels. Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt, Mookie Betts, and Shane Victorino have not faced Hamels. Phillies vs. Buchholz (RHP) Ben Revere (6): .500/.500/.667, 1 double No other Phillies have faced Buchholz.