Wednesday's Red Sox-Mariners matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

June 25, 2014 - 6:33 am

The Red Sox will close out a three-game series in Seattle against the Mariners when Clay Buchholz makes his return to the mound against Hisashi Iwakuma. Buchholz (2-4, 7.02 ERA) hasn't started for the Red Sox since May 26 when he hyperextended his knee in a game against the Braves that landed him on the disabled list. The right-hander had struggled mightily up to that point, going 0-2 with a 9.50 ERA in his four outings since his last win May 2. He lasted just three innings in that last game against the Braves, giving up six runs on four hits and eight walks. Buchholz returns to the Sox Wednesday after a stint in Triple-A Pawtucket, and appears to be well after throwing six shutout innings in his second rehab outing last Thursday in Rochester, New York. Buchholz's return to the big leagues will come in his fourth career start against the Mariners. He is 1-1 with a 3.26 ERA in three outings against Seattle. He hasn't faced the Mariners since Sept. 3, 2012, when he gave up three earned runs on six hits in a loss in Seattle. The Mariners roster has undergone significant changes since then, however, most notably with the addition of former Yankees slugger Robinson Cano. Cano is batting .375 with a home run and three RBIs in 33 career plate appearances against Buchholz. After going 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA in his three previous starts, Iwakuma (5-3, 3.04 ERA) struggled in his most recent outing in Kansas City on Friday night. The right-hander gave up five runs on nine hits '€” including a pair of home runs '€” and a walk in just five innings in a no-decision against the Royals, ending a string of three straight quality starts. "I kind of lost my rhythm as the game went on," Iwakuma said after the game. "They were very aggressive, they got to certain pitches, and they kind of just took advantage and took off." Iwakuma had a stiff neck in the days leading up to his start Friday, which forced him to skip his normal between-starts bullpen session. His physical ailments may have attributed to his struggles Friday. But Iwakuma will be healthy enough to make his third career start against the Red Sox on Wednesday. Each of his first two starts against the Sox came last season in a pair of Red Sox wins. Iwakuma gave up seven earned runs in 8 2/3 innings in two no-decisions. Red Sox vs. Iwakuma (RHP) A.J. Pierzynski (12 plate appearances): .333 AVG/.333 OBP/.333 SLG, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout Stephen Drew (5): .500/.600/.500, 1 RBI, 1 walk Brock Holt (5): .250/.200/.500, 1 double, 1 RBI Mike Napoli (5): .250/.400/1.000, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout David Ortiz (5): .400/.400/1.200, 1 HR, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts Dustin Pedroia (5): .400/.400/1.000, 1 HR, 3 RBIs Jackie Bradley and Daniel Nava are both hitless with a strikeout in two career plate appearances. Mariners vs. Buchholz (RHP) Robinson Cano (33 plate appearances): .375 AVG/.394 OBP/.594 SLG, 1 HR, 4 doubles, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout John Buck (12): .100/.250/.100, 1 RBI, 1 walk Logan Morrison (6): .667/.667/2.000, 2 HR, 2 doubles, 6 RBIs, 1 strikeout Dustin Ackley (4): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout Endy Chavez (4): .250/.250/.250, 2 strikeouts Kyle Seager (3): .500/.667/.500, 1 strikeout Willie Bloomquist is hitless with a strikeout in two career plate appearances.