For Clay Buchholz, the scenario is a dream.

For Clay Buchholz, the scenario is a dream.

He was the kid from Texas who grew up with that poster on his wall of his baseball idol, the one of the guy the young shortstop-turned-pitcher fashioned his baseball world around. And now — one week from Sunday — Buchholz will get the opportunity to become the last pitcher Derek Jeter ever faces.

“It’€™s a game you try and go as deep as you can to be that last pitcher that he faces. I’€™ve definitely thought about that,” Buchholz said. “You have to take care of everybody else before you get to that point. There is going to be a lot of stuff going on. It’€™s something that’€™s pretty neat to think about.”

Buchholz is scheduled to pitch the Red Sox‘ last game of the season, which just happens to be against the Yankees. It also happens to be the final game for the soon-to-be Hall of Famer.

When Buchholz first stared down Jeter — resulting in the shortstop claiming an infield single during an April 16, 2008 game at Yankee Stadium — such a moment seemed implausible for the young pitcher. (“I was definitely nervous. There were definitely some nerves going on,” he said.)

“He was a guy I idolized growing up, playing shortstop,” added the Red Sox starter, who has faced Jeter 32 times, limiting him to a .276 batting average without any homers. “It was pretty neat being in that stadium and pitching against the Yankees for the first time in your career.

“It was just him. I grew up and there were Yankees hats everywhere. Boston and Yankees. Everybody was either wearing a Boston hat or a Yankees hat where I grew up. He was the guy I watched the most. I liked the way he played the game.”

Getting to Jeter’s final at-bat will be a feat. Other pitchers have such acts in similarly monumental moments and come up short. (Surely, Cleveland starter Bud Anderson wanted to be that guy in Carl Yastrzemski’s last game on Oct. 2, 1983, but instead that fell on reliever Dan Spillner.)

Still, Buchholz is grateful for the opportunity to give it a whirl.

“It’€™s a game to me that’€™s a little bit different in a couple of different ways. But at the same time, it’€™s still baseball. I have to go out and execute pitches and try to get outs,” the pitcher said.

“Things are going to be magnified by a pretty good amount. I’€™m sure I’€™ll have to do a couple of sit-downs about it. I’€™m sort of looking forward to it, actually.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

The Red Sox open up a weekend series Friday night against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Allen Webster will pitch against Kevin Gausman.

Allen Webster

Allen Webster

In his previous outing last Friday, Webster (4-3, 6.02 ERA) had one of his finer outings of the season. He threw six innings, allowing just two runs in a winning effort against the Royals. Part of the reason for his success against Kansas City was improved control. After walking at least two batters in each of his previous eight starts, Webster walked just one Royals hitter. Manager John Farrell said he liked what he saw from Webster last time out.

“We know this is an aggressive swinging team, and if you pitch to quality locations early in the count, chances are it can work in your favor,” Farrell said after the game.

Webster has pitched into the sixth inning in his last two starts after not making it out of the fifth frame in two prior appearances. Webster has faced the American League East four times this season, but not the Orioles so far in 2014. Against division foes, he’€™s allowed 15 runs in 17 1/3 innings, leading to a 1-2 record.

The right-hander previously faced the Orioles during the last game of the season in 2013, also at Camden Yards. Over three innings in a shortened start, Webster did not allow a run, struck out two and walked three. Farrell was happy with how Webster responded after a tough beginning of the game.

“It was good to see Webby come out and settle down after a rocky beginning of the first inning. He threw the ball very well,” Farrell said.

No current Orioles player has a hit against Webster.

Kevin Gausman

Kevin Gausman

Gausman (7-7, 3.57 ERA) has put together a fine rookie season for the Orioles. The hard-throwing pitcher won his last start against the Yankees last Friday, as he did not allow a run over seven innings. He gave up seven hits but used seven strikeouts to keep the Yankees at bay. He did not factor into the decision, however, because Baltimore did not score until the bottom of the 11th inning.

“He was really good,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of his starter after the game. “He had to be, because [Brandon] McCarthy was good, too.”

The 23-year-old is on a streak in which he’€™s pitched at least seven innings and struck out seven hitters per game over his last three starts. He only has one start over his last 10 outings where he did not pitch out of the fifth inning. In all 21 starts this season, Gausman has recorded at least one strikeout.

Back on July 6, Gausman defeated the Red Sox when he pitched 5 1/3 innings and was charged with just one run on five hits. He also struck out seven. David Ortiz drove in the lone Red Sox run with an RBI double that scored Daniel Nava.

No Red Sox hitter on the current roster has more than two career hits vs. Gausman. Ortiz has two extra base hits, a double and home run against the right-hander.

Red Sox vs. Gausman (RHP)

Yoenis Cespedes (6 career plate appearances): .333 average/.333 OBP/.333 SLG, 2 strikeouts

Daniel Nava (6): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts

David Ortiz (5): .400/.400/1.200, 1 home run, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Mike Napoli (4): .250/.250/.500, 1 double, 3 strikeouts

Xander Bogaerts (3): .333/.333/.333

Brock Holt (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk

Will Middlebrooks (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double

Jackie Bradley has a walk and a strikeout against Gausman in two plate appearances.

Orioles vs. Webster (RHP)

Nick Hundley (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis are both 0-for-2 against Webster in two plate appearances. Steve Clevenger, Steve Pearce and Jonathan Schoop are all 0-for-1 vs. the right-hander.

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano

PITTSBURGH -- Rusney Castillo finally made it to the Red Sox. Is his former Cuban teammate Yasmani Tomas next?



ROB BRADFORD

BIO | ARCHIVE | FULL COUNT BLOG


PITTSBURGH — Want to look at the Red Sox‘ three-game sweep at PNC Park with a glass-half-full mentality?

Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole

PITTSBURGH — Want to look at the Red Sox‘ three-game sweep at PNC Park with a glass is half full mentality? Here you go: they’re might be moving down in the standings, but up in the draft order.

With their 3-2 loss to the Pirates Thursday night, the Sox are now the fifth-worst team in baseball. That would mean — because of the Astros’ compensatory pick due to not signing Brady Aiken — John Farrell‘s club would be drafting No. 6 overall.

That, in case you forgot, is one spot higher than the disastrous 2012 season yielded. (With the Red Sox getting lefty high school pitcher Trey Ball with that selection. Ball went 5-10 with a 4.68 ERA in 22 starts in Single-A Greenville this season.)

The Red Sox (66-89) will still have a chance to move up in the order with nine games to play, sitting 1/2 game in front of Minnesota. There is also the scenario where teams could leap frog them with supbar final weeks, with the Astros (67-85), Cubs (68-94) and White Sox (69-83) all within striking distance.

How important is getting a pick a few spots closer to the top of the heap? The Pirates’ starter Thursday night should have offered that reminder.

Gerrit Cole — who finished finished his seven-inning stint allowing two runs while striking out seven and not walking a batter — was the first overall pick taken the 2011 draft. No. 2? A pitcher Seattle took named Danny Hultzen who has yet to appear in the major leagues, having undergone shoulder surgery after the ’13 season.

OTHER REASONS YOU SHOULD HAVE CARED ABOUT THURSDAY’S GAME:

- The Red Sox’ inability to drive in key runs surfaced once again, this time in the ninth inning of a one-run game. With pinch-runner Jemile Weeks at third base and Daniel Nava at first, Will Middlebrooks came to the plate with nobody out.

Middlebrooks hit a slow roller down the third base line that bounced right into Weeks as he dove back into third base. The ruling was that Weeks was out, leaving runners on first and second.

Jackie Bradley followed by fanning on a called third strike, with Christian Vazquez punctuating the squander by grounding out to second base.

Nava, Middlebrooks and Nava all finished with two hits apiece.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

PITTSBURGH —  Brock Holt is better, but not quite good enough to see game action.

The utilityman, who has been out since Sept. 5 with a concussion, came back from his appointment with concussion specialist Micky Collins, PhD with good results.

Brock Holt

Brock Holt

PITTSBURGH —  Brock Holt is better, but not quite good enough to see game action.

The utilityman, who has been out since Sept. 5 with a concussion, came back from his appointment with concussion specialist Micky Collins, PhD with good results.

“He’€™s improved today,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. ‘€œHe got some encouraging news from Dr. Collins and his staff with the battery of tests that he went through. We’€™ll begin to incorporate baseball activities, likely when we get to Baltimore. It’€™s still undetermined but not out of the question that he would return before this season is out. But we still have to see how he responds to baseball activity that he takes in.”

Farrell didn’€™t rule out a return before the Red Sox end their season a week from Sunday.

“I think we have to stay open minded,” he said. “We’€™ll still, we have to sit down with Brock and discuss this. Even if it weren’€™t prior to the end of our regular season, Is there a possibility of getting him in some games in Instructional League just to answer the physical questions that we’€™re all trying to get answers to right now.”

(For the Red Sox Instructional League roster, click here.)

Holt has played in 106 games this season, hitting .281 with a .711 OPS.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

David Ortiz will be in the lineup at first base in the Red Sox‘ final interleague contest of the season.

David Ortiz will be in the lineup at first base in the Red Sox‘ final interleague contest of the season. Mike Napoli will sit in deference to Ortiz, while Rusney Castillo — one day after his major league debut — will also get the night off, as Jackie Bradley Jr. will start in center field. Here is the Red Sox lineup for Thursday night:

RED SOX LINEUP

Mookie Betts, 2B

Xander Bogaerts, SS

David Ortiz, 1B

Allen Craig, RF

Daniel Nava, LF

Will Middlebrooks, 3B

Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Christian Vazquez, C

Brandon Workman, SP

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier