Clay Buchholz

Thursday's Red Sox-Royals matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Liam Hendriks

September 11, 2014 - 5:12 am

The Red Sox hit the road Thursday to play the American League Central-leading Royals at Kauffman Stadium. A resurgent Clay Buchholz will pitch against 25-year-old Liam Hendriks. Over his last six starts Buchholz (7-8, 5.29 ERA) has pitched like he did during the first half of 2013. In those outings, he'€™s pitched at least six innings every time, having only one start where he gave up more than three runs. During August, the pitcher'€™s batting average against (.220) was the lowest it was all season. The right-hander won his previous matchup on Saturday against the division-rival Blue Jays. After 6 1/3 innings of four-hit, two-run ball, Buchholz finished another quality start and recorded his seventh win of the season. This followed a three-hit shutout on Aug. 31 against the Rays. "At some point in the game, I'm using each and every one of my pitches in an effective way," Buchholz said after his start against Toronto. "Regardless of it being two pitches in one inning to get outs, I'm using them and I have confidence in them." Red Sox manager John Farrell said during an interview with Middays with MFB on Wednesday that Buchholz has been a completely different pitcher since returning from a trip to the disabled list. "When he came back off the DL there was improved stuff overall, so his velocity picked up some as did his action to his two-seamer," Farrell said of Buchholz'€™s improvements. "And I think because of that, it'€™s given him some confidence to attack the strike zone early, work ahead in the counts. And he'€™s been on a run that, to me, is very reminiscent of what he did first half of last year. And he'€™s pitched with a lot of confidence." Buchholz previously faced the Royals on July 10 and did not have one of his better outings. He did get the win, but he gave up four runs on 10 hits in six innings of work. Eric Hosmer did the most significant damage with three hits and two RBIs. Hendriks (1-1, 4.81 ERA) started the year with Toronto'€™s Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo. Prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, Hendricks was traded along with Erik Kratz from the Blue Jays organization to Kansas City. The pitcher was called up the majors on Aug. 27 for the first time with his new team to start against the Twins. He threw seven innings and allowed just one run during his first big league outing since June. Last time out, Hendriks lasted just four innings after he gave up seven hits and three earned runs against the Yankees in the Bronx. Hendriks has pitched against the Red Sox just once in his career, losing a start in 2012 for the Twins after allowing seven runs in four innings. Red Sox vs. Hendriks (RHP) Yoenis Cespedes (12 career plate appearances): .273 average/.333 OBP/.545 SLG, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 3 strikeouts Mike Napoli has one home run and an RBI in two plate appearances and David Ortiz has a walk in one of his two appearances against Hendriks. Royals vs. Buchholz (RHP) Billy Butler (19): .200/.316/.200, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts Alex Gordon (13): .455/.538/.818, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts Omar Infante (12): .364/.417/.636, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 walk, 1 strikeout Josh Willingham (9): .444/.444/.667, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts Jayson Nix (8): .000/.125/.000, 2 strikeouts, 1 walk Alcides Escobar (7): .333/.333/.333 Eric Hosmer (7): .429/.429/.571, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout Lorenzo Cain (6): .500/.500/.833, 2 doubles, 2 strikeouts Raul Ibanez (6): .167/.167/.667, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts Mike Moustakas (6): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout Salvador Perez (6): .500/.500/.833, 1 triple, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout Nori Aoki (3): .333/.333/.333 Carlos Peguero (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout