The Red Sox conclude their 2014 season at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon against the rival Yankees. Clay Buchholz will pitch against Michael Pineda during Derek Jeter‘s last-ever game in the major leagues.

Buchholz (8-10, 5.31 ERA) has been resurgent of late, and is looking to gear up for next season. For seven innings last Tuesday against the Rays, the right-hander kept Tampa Bay off the board in a great outing. But in the eighth inning, things fell apart. He was charged with five runs and the loss.

“When you get that deep into a game, not giving up a run yet, it’s tough to swallow giving up five in one inning,” Buchholz said after the game. “But like I said before, it is what it is.”

Save for his start against the Pirates on Sept. 17, Buchholz pitched into the sixth inning in all of his previous nine starts. In three of those outings, he made it into the eighth inning. But one of the worst appearances over a stretch since August happened to come against the Yankees. Buchholz threw 114 pitches by the fifth inning on Aug. 3 against New York, allowing seven runs, eight hits and five walks. Three of the runs were plated by former Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew.

The only other appearance Buchholz has against the Yankees this year came back on April 10 at Yankee Stadium. He took the loss in that one, although he was charged with just two earned runs in six innings.

Jeter has solid numbers against Buchholz in his career. The shortstop has eight hits and two RBIs in 29 career at-bats.

Pineda’s career was derailed for a few seasons after battling injuries. After a promising rookie campaign in 2011, Pineda (4-5, 1.93 ERA) missed all of 2012 and 2013. He made his Yankees debut in April of this year and shined early on. But during on start at the end of the month in Boston, he was caught with a foreign substance on his neck and was ejected from the game after 1 2/3 innings.

“I felt like it was a necessity to say something,” Farrell said. “You know, I fully respect on a cold night you’re trying to get a little bit of a grip. But when it’s that obvious, something has got to be said.”

The 25-year-old actually went down with another injury after that infamous start and did not take the mound in a major league game until early August. Pineda has not shown any rust at all since returning to the team, though, pitching at least five innings every time he’s started since coming back from the disabled list.

Pineda’s previous start last Monday against the Orioles was one of the finest of the year for him. In 7 1/3 innings, he struck out eight and allowed one hit and no runs.

The Red Sox have two extra-base hits against Pineda, a double from David Ortiz and a home run courtesy of Daniel Nava.

Yankees vs. Buchholz (RHP)

Derek Jeter (33 career plate appearances): .276 average/.364 OBP/.310 SLG, 2 RBIs, 1 double, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

Mark Teixeira (25): .174/.210/.435, 7 strikeouts, 2 walks, 5 RBIs, 2 home runs

Brett Gardner (24): .227/.261/.273, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Ichiro Suzuki (15): .214/.267/.214, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Carlos Beltran (6): .500/.500/.667, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Francisco Cervelli (6): .500/.500/.500, 3 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Stephen Drew (6): .500/.500/.667, 1 double, 4 RBIs

Jacoby Ellsbury (6): .167/.167/.167, 1 strikeout, 1 RBI

Brian McCann (6): .500/.667/.750, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Brendan Ryan (5): .000/.200/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Chase Headley (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Chris Young (3): .333/.333/.333, 2 strikeouts

Austin Romine is 1-for-1 against Buchholz.

Red Sox vs. Pineda (RHP)

Mike Napoli (7): .200/.429/.200, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

David Ortiz (6): .333/.333/.500, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Jemile Weeks (6): .167/.167/.167

Xander Bogaerts (4): .500/.500/.500, 1 strikeout

Jackie Bradley (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Daniel Nava (3): .333/.333/1.333, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Brock Holt is 0-for-1 against Pineda in one plate appearance.

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano
Mut and Rob discuss the "kids" and the variety of young bodies the Red Sox called upon this season. Specifically, they look at Bogaerts and Bradley, Jr. and where things went wrong. They give their opinions on which one will right the ship next season.

[0:01:12] ... here here's the thing -- in in listen I was wrong about Stephen Drew but I looked at it as if you got back Stephen Drew. You go back the guy that a lot of most people thought you were getting you're gonna get better defensively at two ...
[0:08:39] ... defined in this day and age of certainly reduced use of steroids Major League Baseball -- -- it completely out of the game but reduced because the way to test. Guys like -- but it's absolutely there ...
[0:09:15] ... fans from New York. Doesn't change the fact that this feels like Yankee Stadium. Well you know I feel like -- the state and that's not hyperbole. This. The the percentage outrage at the ratio is about you would see Yankee Stadium where you have with this day 75%. Yankee. Fans and 25% -- expert and I think fans but in -- that year. That people are aware let's get to break up the outlook of package -- a lot of this means that -- games as well 617. 7797937. Is your phone number -- TT tech line. Is 37937. -- up until Red Sox pregame. Final game of the year my game a career Derek Jeter we're talking about of these Sports Radio WB yeah. ...

Description: Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett looks back at the 2014 Red Sox prospect season by answering listener questions about a number of Red Sox prospects as well as broader issues and themes in the farm system.
Torey Lovullo sits down with the boys to give his final assessment and analysis on a tough year for the Red Sox.
Mut and Bradford are live from Fenway on the final day of the season to recap what went wrong in 2014 and what the future looks like for the Boston Red Sox.

One Red Sox pitcher will be the last one Derek Jeter faces in his career. (Getty Images)Some haven't.

"Not really," said Koji Uehara.

Some have.

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
Right-hander Joe Kelly recorded a career-high 7 1/3 innings on Saturday. (Getty Images)

Right-hander Joe Kelly recorded a career-high 7 1/3 innings on Saturday. (Getty Images)

When Joe Kelly took the mound in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game against the Yankees, he entered previously uncharted territory. Never before had he pitched more than seven innings in a big league start.

Yet when he retired the first batter of the eighth, he wasn’t exactly in a mood to call it a day. He’d entered the inning with 81 pitches. He sniffed nine innings.

“I’€™ve never thrown a complete game and it’€™s something I really, really wanted to do today,” Kelly acknowledged after the contest. “It didn’€™t happen so mentally I was kind of angry and frustrated at myself.”

What had been a dominant outing unraveled quickly. Kelly, armed with 10-1 lead through 7 1/3 innings and still pumping 98 mph gas for strikes, permitted four straight singles, and when the dust settled on the inning, his final line revealed a four-run yield in those 7 1/3 frames en route to an eventual 10-4 Sox win.

“I kind of gave it away today. I mean I’€™m glad we won. It’€™s definitely good to go out on a win and go deep into the game,” said Kelly. “But the end of the day it’€™s something I have to do better at. I want to throw a complete game really, really bad. I’€™ve never had one in my career and it’€™s just something that makes me frustrated at myself, letting it get away a little bit at the end.”

Others in the Sox clubhouse were less pessimistic about the outing. They saw a starter who showed a 99 mph fastball in the first inning to punch out Derek Jeter and who sustained that sort of heat (99 mph in the seventh, 98 in the eighth) over the course of his outing. His fastball, combined with a changeup that elicited swings and misses from lefties and a curveball and slider to keep hitters off balance, made a favorable impression over his 10 starts following his July 31 trade from St. Louis to the Sox, during which Kelly went 4-2 with a 4.12 ERA while averaging more than six innings an outing. His place as a Sox starter seems secure for next year.

“I feel very good about Joe’s presence in the rotation. It’s premium stuff,” said John Farrell. “I think he’s gained some consistency of the use to his fastball, particularly to the glove side of the plate. When you single out each of the pitches in his repertoire, it’s premium stuff.”

“He’s been great. I think he’s been really good. He’s a really talented guy, has great stuff and you can tell that he’s really confident out there, throwing strikes with all his pitches, especially his heater,” added Sox first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig, who was Kelly’s teammate in St. Louis and was traded with him to Boston at the trade deadline. “I think the world of him. I think he’s got a great fastball, really good changeup and the slider and curveball are good, too. I think his off-speed stuff can be just as good as his fastball when he’s feeling really good. I enjoy playing behind him and I think everyone else does, too.”

While Kelly missed months of this season due to a hamstring injury, he was able to see promise in his time with the Sox given the steadiness with which he delivered innings. He pitched into at least the seventh for the Sox in five of his 10 outings, including four of his last five. That, Kelly suggested, represents a building block for a key goal going forward.

“It’€™s definitely something I want to do throughout the rest of my career. Eventually I want to be a guy who throws 200 innings and takes the mound every fifth day healthy and win more games than I lose,” Kelly said. “I want to go out there and hopefully be healthy. I’€™m just looking forward to having a full year here and seeing all the guys we traded for and all these guys for a full year and it’€™s definitely something I’€™m looking forward to and it’€™s going to be fun.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Yoenis Cespedes arrived for the first time at a noteworthy milestone on Saturday.

Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes arrived for the first time at a noteworthy milestone on Saturday. On Saturday, in the Red Sox‘ 10-4 win over the Yankees, Cespedes drove in a pair of runs, giving the 28-year-old 100 RBIs for the first time in his career.

Of course, that his milestone came in a Red Sox uniform is of some note on the opposite coast. Since the head-spinning July 31 trade that shipped Cespedes (and a competitive balance draft pick) to the Sox in exchange for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes, the Oakland A’s have been in something of a freefall. While Cespedes has hit .274 with a .301 OBP, .431 slugging mark and 33 RBIs in 50 games, the A’s are 21-32 while scoring just 3.5 runs per game, making them the worst offense in the American League in that time.

Cespedes could not say what role his absence had played in his former team’s offensive decline, but did acknowledge that even now, he remains surprised that he is no longer in Oakland.

“I don’t know [why the A's offense has struggled]. I would have to be there to give you a better answer on that, but I don’t know,” said Cespedes through interpreter Adrian Lorenzo. “I was surprised when [the trade] happened. I’m still a little surprised. I thought there was a chance it would happen next season. I didn’t think it would happen this season because I didn’t think Oakland was going to re-sign me after this contract, but yeah, definitely surprised.”

The Sox, meanwhile, have been pleased by his addition and what he’s delivered.

“He’s clearly got middle of the order presence for us. I think the one thing we’ve been impressed with is the overall ability, the overall skills,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “Obviously the throwing arm speaks for itself, but there’s been times when he’s been well above average defensively for us. There’s still work to be done in this ballpark, particularly with the Wall, but an RBI guy. He’s got a knack for it. He’s aggressive in the right spots, and he’s giving us the ability to lengthen out the lineup with his presence behind David.”

While the shape of the 2015 Red Sox lineup remains to be determined, Cespedes could feature heavily in a group that the Sox believe will be markedly better than it was a year ago. For now, he’s unsure whether his relationship with Boston might extend beyond 2015.

“I’m still not sure if I want to sign an extension or if I want to be a free agent,” said Cespedes. “It’s too soon.”

For now, Cespedes is content merely to recognize a new run production milestone in his career, at a time when run scoring across the game is at a something of a nadir.

“It’s something very important for my career and it’s something very special to me, to be able to get it in my third year in the league,” said Cespedes. “There’s only been seven guys to get to 100 RBIs this year. To be a member of that group is something pretty important to me and special.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier