Clay Buchholz

Saturday's Red Sox-Astros matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Collin McHugh

July 04, 2015 - 7:31 am

After dropping the first game of a three-game set to the Astros, the Red Sox will send right-hander Clay Buchholz to the mound to face Collin McHugh Saturday afternoon.

Buchholz enters Saturday's game with a record of 6-6 and sporting a 3.48 ERA. He has struck out 96 in 16 starts on the season, and has a WHIP of 1.24.

In his last start, Buchholz dominated the high-octane Blue Jays offense to the tune of eight innings and one run. He scattered five hits in a 3-1 Red Sox victory.

"He's been on a really strong run through the entire month, and tonight tops off the month that he's had,"€ said manager John Farrell of Buchholz. "€œEight very strong innings for us. On a night we needed a starter to go deep, he provided it. But he was outstanding. He threw four pitches for strikes. He threw some quality two-seamers in to their big right-handers to keep them honest. It was a constant mix, staying out of the middle of the plate. He was outstanding tonight."

Buchholz has been far and away the best starter in the Red Sox rotation this season and has in many ways been better than his ERA indicates. In his past nine starts, the 30-year-old has accrued a 2.13 ERA and opposing hitters have hit just .235 against him. He has earned a 1.03 WHIP during that span, dating back to May 15.

McHugh has earned a 9-3 record to go along with a 4.51 ERA in 16 starts so far this season. He has a 1.27 WHIP and 4.01 FIP.

McHugh's last start was a great one, as he delivered a win against the Yankees on Sunday. The right-hander pitched eight innings of one-run ball as the Astros took a 3-1 win. He allowed only two hits and a pair of walks while striking out eight.

"I'm not sure I can accurately describe that," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of his performance. "He was fantastic, as dominant as we could."

The win was McHugh's third in a row, during which he has compiled a 2.45 ERA and allowed opponents only a .190 average against him. He has hurled 22 innings and struck out as many hitters during the streak.

In his only career start against the Red Sox on August 17, 2014, McHugh got the win. He pitched six innings and allowed just one run while striking out six and the Astros won 8-1.

Red Sox vs. McHugh (RHP)

Ryan Hanigan (4 plate appearances): .000 AVG/.333 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 walk, 1 RBI

Xander Bogaerts (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Jackie Bradley Jr. (3): 1.000/1.000/1.000, 1 walk

Brock Holt (3): .500/.667/.500, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

David Ortiz is 0-for-2 with a walk against McHugh.

Alejandro De Aza is 1-for-2 against McHugh.

No other Red Sox have faced McHugh.

Astros vs. Buchholz (RHP)

Colby Rasmus (26 plate appearances): .143 AVG/.280 OBP/.143 SLG, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

Jose Altuve (12): .083/.083/.083, 3 strikeouts

Chris Carter (9): .333/.333/.444, 1 double, 3 strikeouts

Jason Castro (9): .375/.444/.375, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Marwin Gonzalez (9): .222/.222/.333, 1 double, 3 strikeouts

Luis Valbuena (8): .125/.125/.500, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Hank Conger (6): .400/.500/.600, 1 double, 1 walk

Jon Singleton (6): .000/.167/.000, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

No other Astros have faced Buchholz.