Clay Buchholz

Tuesday's Red Sox-Twins matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Mike Pelfrey

May 26, 2015 - 4:28 am
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The Red Sox will send Clay Buchholz to the mound Tuesday to face Mike Pelfrey and the Twins at Target Field for the middle game of their three-game set. Buchholz, who holds a 2-5 record and a 4.58 ERA, comes into Tuesday's game with a streak of three consecutive quality starts. His latest outing came against the Rangers last Thursday, when he pitched 7 1/3 strong innings, limiting the Rangers to two earned runs. Unfortunately for Buchholz, the Red Sox could not figure out Texas left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, mustering only one run and handing Buchholz the tough-luck 3-1 loss. "I thought Clay certainly gave us a chance to win this ballgame," Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game. "They score a second run on an attempted double play in the first to give them a 2-0 lead and then a cutter that stayed on the outside of the plate to [Mitch] Moreland is the extent of their offense. Going into the eighth inning, kept his pitch count well in check, and through the middle innings I thought he did an outstanding job to get that deep." Since his loss to the Rays on May 4, Buchholz has shown the stuff that made him a dark-horse Cy Young candidate back in 2013. Over his last three starts, the 30-year-old has logged 21 2/3 innings, notching 18 punchouts and limiting opposing hitters to a paltry .200/.250/.333 slash line. Buchholz finally has begun to find his swing-and-miss pitch, as 16 percent of his strikes over these three starts have come off of the whiff. The Texas native has made eight career starts vs. the Twins, posting a 3-1 record and a 4.25 ERA. He has struggled with limiting baserunners against Minnesota, walking 19 batters in 48 2/3 innings pitched. Facing a 2015 Twins team that owns a .308 OBP, 11th in the AL, Buchholz hopes to find better success against Minnesota this time around. Toeing the rubber for the Twins will be 6-foot-7 Mike Pelfrey, who has seen a career resurgence in Minnesota this year. The right-hander owns a 3-1 record and a 3.00 ERA, a drastic departure from his 4.49 career ERA. Pelfrey has struck gold this season, not with the strikeout pitch but rather by limiting opponents' big hits. The former Met has given up just three long balls in 45 innings this season, or 0.6 per nine. Last season, Pelfrey allowed 1.9 HR/9, or 1.3 more than this season. In his most recent outing last Wednesday, Pelfrey hurled six strong innings vs. the Pirates in an interleague matchup. He allowed one earned run and whiffed five as his team rolled to a 4-3 victory. Pelfrey threw just 92 pitches during this start, 61 of them for strikes, showing his improvement in pitch location. "I'm always pretty calm," Pelfrey said after the game Wednesday. "Early in my career there would be times where the game sped up. Now I get crucified sometimes for taking too much time out there, but that's me breathing and not allowing the game to get too fast, especially in big situations." Pelfrey has made one career start against the Red Sox, tossing seven innings of two-run ball while striking out six. The Wichita, Kansas, native will look to earn his first career win vs. the Red Sox when he takes the bump Tuesday. Red Sox vs. Pelfrey (RHP) Hanley Ramirez (51 plate appearances): .213 AVG/.275 OBP/.277 OBP, 1 home run, 7 strikeouts Pablo Sandoval (17): .235/.235/.294, 1 double, 3 strikeouts David Ortiz (3): .000/.333/.000 Dustin Pedroia (3): .667/.667/.667 No other Red Sox have faced Pelfrey. Twins vs. Buchholz (RHP) Torii Hunter (25): .143/.280/.190, 4 strikeouts, 4 walks Joe Mauer (19): .438/.526/.625, 3 doubles, 3 walks Trevor Plouffe (15): .077/.200/.154, 5 strikeouts Kurt Suzuki (15): .533/.533/.600, 2 RBIs Brian Dozier (14): .167/.214/.167 Aaron Hicks (9): .250/.333/.375, 1 double Eduardo Escobar (6): .500/.500/.667 Eduardo Nunez (3): .500/.667/.500 No other Twins have faced Buchholz.