Brewers 7, Red Sox 6: Buchholz Bombs in Debut

Jared Wickerham

Clay Buchholz has an awful, terrible, very bad, no good day at Fenway as the Red Sox fall in extra innings.

If the words "ill-fated" were ever to be applied to a baseball game, it probably would be a game like this one. From the very outset, this one had bad news written all over it. David Ortiz was already out of the lineup, given a "scheduled day off." Then, just before game time, two of the scheduled starters, Mike Carp and Will Middlebrooks, became late scratches, leaving us with a lineup that seemed more appropriate for Spring Training than opening weekend at home.

Compounding matters was what happened to Clay Buchholz. Clearly he was struggling in the cold weather, but from the second batter on, things quickly spiraled out of control. How much of it was getting out of sorts because of being hit in the leg by a pitch on a comeback by Jean Segura that normally would have ended up getting safely into the gloves of Xander Bogaerts or Dustin Pedroia isn't clear, and how much of it was a physical response, isn't really clear. However, what is clear is that what we saw looked very much like the bad Buchholz of circa 2009, where innings went either very, very right, or they went very, very badly. The issue was not that he couldn't throw strikes—he threw almost nothing but strikes, actually. The problem was spotting his pitches, and putting them where the batters couldn't hit them. He simply couldn't get it done, giving up two home runs in the second inning, and ultimately a total of six runs on thirteen hits in just 4.1 innings, although all the runs scored in the first three innings.

Given how short-handed the Red Sox offense was already coming into this game, one would not have been surprised if they couldn't climb their way out of it. However, unlike Friday afternoon, the Red Sox made the most of their opportunities on Saturday night, racking up six runs on just seven hits, the most important of which was a three-run bomb by Mike Napoli. Jonathan Herrera would then bring in the tying run in the form of Xander Bogaerts.

The Sox bullpen also answered the call, performing much better Friday than Saturday night. Particularly terrifying for the Brewers must have been the trio of Brandon Workman, Koji Uehara, and Junichi Tazawa, who racked up nine strikeouts in their three innings of work. In all, the bullpen racked up fifteen strikeouts against the Brewers in just 6.2 innings. Unfortunately, one of those hits was an RBI double off Burke Badenhop in the top of the eleventh innings, and he ended up taking the loss on the evening when the Sox bats couldn't manufacture a run in the bottom half of the inning.

So the Sox will now turn to Jon Lester to avoid the series sweep (and their first three-game losing streak since last August) Sunday afternoon (1:35 PM).

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