Undefeated Clay Buchholz will be matched up against right-hander Vance Worley as the Red Sox and Twins begin a three-game series in Minnesota on Friday night.
Buchholz’ early success has been a big reason why the Red Sox are 24-17 this season, compared to an 18-20 record on this date a year ago. Through eight starts in 2012, Buchholz owned a 7.77 ERA. But this year, he sits just behind Felix Hernandez with the second-lowest ERA in the American League at 1.69. At this point last season, he had only struck out 25 batters while walking 23 in 44 innings. In 2013, he’s fanned 60 while walking 21 in 58 2/3 innings, good for a 2.86 strikeout-to-walk rate. Buchholz also had problems with the longball in the early part of 2012, giving up 10 home runs in his first eight games. This year, he’s allowed only one home run, and that was in his very first start of the season. He hasn’t let one out of the park in 55 innings.
The Twins are the only team in 2013 to get more than two runs off Buchholz, tagging him for four earned runs on six hits and two walks in six innings on May 6. Minnesota has given Buchholz some trouble in the past; despite a 3-1 record against the Twins in his career, he possesses a 4.54 ERA and 1.458 WHIP in six starts and 35 2/3 innings.
Worley has not been the dominant pitcher the Twins hoped he would be when they acquired him from the Phillies in December. The 25-year-old righty comes into the game with a 7.15 ERA and WHIP just under two, allowing an average of 15.2 hits per nine innings. Worley notched his first win in a Twins uniform his last time out, but his performance wasn’t all that impressive. He allowed five runs on a season-high 11 hits to the Orioles, walking one, fanning one and hitting a batter. His 5 1/3-inning outing was the first time he made it past the fifth inning in three starts.
Worley took on Buchholz once already this season, getting a no-decision after allowing three runs on nine hits to the Sox. He’s only faced the Red Sox one other time in his career, throwing seven innings and allowing one run against Boston in 2011 while he was pitching for the Phillies.
Red Sox vs. Worley (RHP)
Jacoby Ellsbury (6 plate appearances): .167 BA/.167 OBP/.333 SLG, 1 double
Dustin Pedroia (6): .500/.500/.500, 1 strikeout
David Ortiz (5): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (5): .250/.400/.500, 1 double, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Shane Victorino (3): 1.000/1.000/2.000, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Mike Carp (2): .000/.500/.000, 1 walk
Stephen Drew (2): .500/.500/.500, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Will Middlebrooks (2): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Mike Napoli (2): .000/.000/.000
Daniel Nava (2): .500/.500/1.000, 1 double
Pedro Ciriaco, Jonny Gomes and Ryan Lavarnway have not faced Worley.
Twins vs. Buchholz (RHP)
Justin Morneau (17 plate appearances): .500/.471/.500, 3 RBI, 3 strikeouts
Joe Mauer (15): .385/.467/.615, 3 doubles, 1 RBI, 2 walks
Jamey Carroll (9): .167/.444/.167, 2 walks
Trevor Plouffe (8): .000/.125/.000, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Brian Dozier (6): .167/.167/.167, 2 strikeouts
Chris Parmalee (6): .250/.500/.250, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Josh Willingham (6): .667/.667/1.000, 2 doubles, 1 RBI
Oswaldo Arcia (3): 1 double, 2 strikeouts
Ryan Doumit (3): .333/.333/.333
Eduardo Escobar (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Pedro Florimon (3): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts
Aaron Hicks (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Wilkin Ramirez has not faced Buchholz.