In the past few days, Red Sox manager John Farrell has answered questions about whether Buchholz has the ability to become the ace of the staff, both from a physical and mental standpoint. Farrell spoke of Buchholz’s career experiences -- good and bad -- and feels the pitcher can lead a young staff by example.
Buchholz concurs. The veteran right-hander said Friday he’s ready for the opportunity.
The next chapter of his career began Sunday with a start against the New York Yankees, and it didn't go well.
Buchholz struggled through five innings and allowed seven runs on eight hits, with five walks and five strikeouts, as New York defeated the Red Sox 8-7. He tossed 114 pitches (61 strikes) in his no-decision. He’s now allowed five-plus runs in eight starts this season, which is tied for third most in the majors, per ESPN Stats & Info.
Boston’s offense did its job with plenty of run support early, but each time the Red Sox secured the lead, Buchholz squandered it.
The Red Sox scored three runs in the first inning, before the Yankees tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the second.
Despite New York’s three runs, it could have been a lot worse, but Buchholz limited the damage. He issued three walks in the second and loaded the bases twice, as the Yankees scored their first run on a fielder’s choice, before Brett Gardner provided a two-run double.
Buchholz’s teammates responded in the bottom of the inning when Dustin Pedroia provided a two-run homer to give Boston a 5-3 lead.
Again, Buchholz had to battle and held New York to only one run in the top of the fourth. He allowed a leadoff double to Brian McCann before Stephen Drew provided a one-out, RBI double to cut New York’s deficit to one. Buchholz retired two of the next three batters to end the inning.
Once again, the Red Sox's offense did its part and helped with another pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth, thanks to a two-run homer by David Ortiz to give Boston a 7-4 lead.
However, in the top of the fifth, Buchholz couldn’t help himself. New York pushed across three runs as Buchholz surrendered a pair of doubles, a single and a walk as the Yankees tied the game at 7-7.
After the Red Sox were retired in order in the bottom of the fifth, and with Buchholz’s night over, reliever Craig Breslow surrendered a leadoff home run to Gardner in the top of the sixth as New York gained an 8-7 lead.
The Red Sox had a chance in the bottom of the ninth when Christian Vazquez led off with a walk. Mookie Betts was inserted as a pinch runner, with Brock Holt coming to the plate. With Betts running, Holt lined a shot directly at Yankees third baseman Chase Headley, who doubled up Betts at first to squash the bid. Pedroia narrowly missed a game-tying home run, seeing the ball sail out of Fenway but to the left of the foul pole in left, before grounding out to end it.
Recharge: Pedroia’s power numbers are down this season, but that doesn’t mean he’s lost the strength to go deep. After having surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb on Nov. 13, 2013, the two-time World Series champion spent the majority of the offseason with a cast on his hand, which limited his normal offseason strength training. He’s made solid contact all season, but entered Sunday’s game with only four home runs. In the bottom of the second, Pedroia crushed the first offering from Yankees starter David Phelps and deposited it into the Monster seats for a two-run homer. It was Pedroia’s first home run since June 19 at Oakland.