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Red Sox vs. Cubs: All eyes on Clay Buchholz

It's Clay Buchholz time again, for better or worse.

Otto Greule Jr

Clay Buchholz will take the mound Tuesday night, six days after his first game did little to clear up the questions surrounding just how viable he is in Boston's rotation.

Today's Lineups

Chris Coghlan - LF Brock Holt - LF
Ryan Sweeney - DH Dustin Pedroia - 2B
Anthony Rizzo - 1B David Ortiz - DH
Starlin Castro - SS Mike Napoli - 1B
Luis Valbuena - 3B A.J. Pierzynski - C
W. Castillo - C Xander Bogaerts - 3B
N. Schierholtz - RF Stephen Drew - SS
Justin Ruggiano - CF Mookie Betts - RF
Darwin Barney - 2B Jackie Bradley - CF
Edwin Jackson - RHP Clay Buchholz - RHP

You remember that game against Seattle, where Buchholz came out of the gates completely awful, then lasted five solid innings after getting smacked around in the second. By the end of his night, he wasn't just getting results, either--he actually started pitching well in the seventh to boot. Even if he surrendered a third homer in the eighth, there were signs of life.

Still, three homers, four earned runs, and only two strikeouts? It's hardly the stuff of legend, and given how deep Buchholz dug himself before hitting the disabled list, it's going to take a lot more than that to inspire anything beyond the faintest glimmer of hope that his old self is ready to make an appearance.

In fact, if we're being honest, this game doesn't come with much upside for Clay. If he's awful, well, game over. If he's good? It's against the Cubs. A team which had Jake Peavy approaching dominance last night.

Still, the ability to throw strikes, and a feel for his changeup? These are not things you can fake, even against a bad team. So let's keep an eye out for the positive signs, even if small numbers on the scoreboard are no great indicator of quality.

And maybe score some runs against Edwin Jackson? As hilarious as this statement would have seemed a few years back, he's no Jake Arrieta.

First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.