Clay Buchholz

Sunday's Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Masahiro Tanaka

April 12, 2015 - 4:22 am

The Red Sox will send Opening Day starter Clay Buchholz to the mound Sunday in the series finale against the Yankees as Boston goes for the sweep. He will be matched up against Masahiro Tanaka. Buchholz gave Red Sox fans a sigh of relief in his first start of 2015. The 30-year-old righty pitched seven shutout innings against the Phillies on the way to his first win of the season. He allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out nine. On 94 pitches, Buchholz threw 65 strikes and was able to keep many batted balls on the ground. Of balls in play, nine were ground balls, seven were fly balls and four were line drives. "It was good," Buchholz told reporters after the game. "There was a lot of building up to this moment. I felt good all spring. It's just another step, I guess. I was a little more anxious today than I have been for [other] first starts given all the attention to it. After the first couple pitches, it felt like a normal game." Throughout the offseason, the Red Sox rotation was criticized for not having a viable ace. Last year Buchholz went 8-11 with a 5.34 ERA and was the fifth starter for most of the season. While one game is not enough of a sample size to predict what will happen the rest of the season, Buchholz looked like the ace the Sox are looking for. "Mechanically, I'm in a lot better spot," Buchholz said. "I feel like I'm within my delivery with every pitch. Whenever I come out of it, it's like ... I feel it and I can switch on the next pitch rather than letting it go for an inning and coming in the dugout and having someone say, 'This is what you're doing.' I feel like I know my mechanics better than I did at any point last year. Yeah, it just puts me in a better spot to command and throw strikes." In seven career starts in the new Yankee Stadium, Buchholz is 4-3 with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. He made three starts against New York last year, going 0-2 with a 6.88 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. Tanaka did not fare nearly as well in the Yankees' opener. He was chased after just four innings of work and gave up four runs on five hits, a home run and two walks. After the outing, there was speculation that the 26-year-old native of Japan was not fully healthy, but the Yankees disputed that. "I'm not going to make excuses," pitching coach Larry Rothschild said after Tanaka's start. "He'€™s capable of pitching better than today, and he will. I think you'€™ll see it as long as he stays healthy, and I believe right now he is healthy." Last year, Tanaka was an All-Star and finished fifth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. He finished the season at 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. In three starts against the Red Sox in 2014, he went 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP and gave up four home runs in 18 innings of work. Red Sox vs. Tanaka (RHP) Xander Bogaerts (8 plate appearances): .125 AVG/.125 OBP/.125 SLG, 3 strikeouts Brock Holt (7): .286/.286/.429, 1 double Mike Napoli (7): .500/.571/1.667, 2 home runs, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts David Ortiz (7): .286/.286/.857, 1 HR, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts Dustin Pedroia (7): .571/.571/.714, 1 double Daniel Nava (6): .333/.333/.333, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout Ryan Hanigan (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout Mookie Betts has a double and a walk in two plate appearnces vs. Tanaka. Allen Craig is 0-for-1 in one plate appearance vs. Tanaka. No other Red Sox have faced Tanaka. Yankees vs. Buchholz (RHP) Alex Rodriguez (28): .400/.429/.640, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts Mark Teixeira (28): .160/.214/.400, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts Brett Gardner (27): .240/.269/.320, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts Stephen Drew (9): .333/.333/.444, 1 double, 4 RBIs Carlos Beltran (6): .500/.500/.667, 1 double, 1 strikeout Jacoby Ellsbury (6): .167/.167/.167, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout Chase Headley (6): .167/.167/.333, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout Brian McCann (6): .500/.667/.750, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 1 strikeout Chris Young (5): .400/.400/.400, 3 strikeouts J.R. Murphy has one strikeout in one plate appearance vs. Buchholz. Didi Gregorius, Garrett Jones and Gregorio Petit have not faced Buchholz.