Red Sox - 042 010 000 - 7 10 0 Twins - 010 005 000 - 6 14 0
Mike Aviles's three-run home run was the big blow in the second inning. Jarrod Saltalamacchia knocked in two runs in the third. Dustin Pedroia's triple and Adrian Gonzalez's single gave the Red Sox a 7-1 lead in the fifth. (David Ortiz went 0-for-3 with a walk; Pedroia also singled and doubled.)
Buchholz (5.1-10-5-3-2, 107) had at least two Twins on base in each of the first four innings, and Minnesota stranded eight runners in those four frames. After a perfect fifth and a strike out to start the sixth, Buchholz allowed singles to Ben Revere and Alexi Casilla. He was at 96 pitches, but Bobby Valentine was asleep at the switch and did not get Scott Atchison up until Buchholz had thrown three pitches to the next batter.
Span doubled in a run and then Buchholz walked Jamey Carroll to load the bases. Atchison (who fares worse against lefties, and threw two innings last night) allowed a two-run single to lefty Joe Mauer and Justin Thomas was hit for an RBI double by Justin Morneau before he hit Chris Parmelee in the head. Matt Albers allowed an RBI single to Trevor Plouffe (the eighth consecutive Twin to reach base safely) before getting a much-needed, inning-ending double play.
It was inexcusable bullpen management from Valentine (who came to Boston with a reputation as an excellent in-game tactician) and McClure. If the game is falling apart, don't go with your absolute worst pitchers; Morales (who has now thrown 19 straight scoreless innings on the road) should have been up instead of Thomas (who must have some seriously incriminating photos of BV).
Coupled with Valentine thinking the Red Sox were facing a lefty and then having to revise his lineup card when informed of his mistake and telling a radio station that Daniel Bard was available for relief tonight and then reversing himself when he actually spoke to Bard about it, it makes me wonder if he banged his head on something in the morning. Or was hung over all day. (Will BV apologize again for using Thomas in a high-leverage situation?)
[Also, NESN missed two first-pitch hits in that half-inning - Morneau's double and Plouffe's single - because it was trying to cram too many commercials into a pitching change. If you'd like to complain about this - they also missed a pitch to Cody Ross in the sixth because they were showing too many game highlights - call NESN at 617-536-9233 and tell them to please do the absolute minimum: show the programming they have agreed to broadcast.]
Vicente Padilla got a 1-2-3 seventh and Franklin Morales did the same in the eighth. But Aceves allowed a one-out walk and a single before a fair call on what looked like a foul ball down the first base line gave Boston a second out when Gonzalez scooped it up and stepped on the bag. After a hit batsman loaded the sacks, Span fanned.
The Red Sox are 7-10 and head to Chicago for four games against the White Sox.
In his first three starts, Buchholz's pitches have been up in the zone and he has paid the price, allowing 17 runs and 23 hits in only 17 innings. Opponents are hitting .324 against him with an OPS of 1.021. Buchholz says he has been studying video with pitching coach Bob McClure and admits to having little confidence in his changeup.
When my four-seamer and two-seamer are down, usually the changeup is down because it's basically the same pitch, just a different grip. ... My changeup has always been a pitch I've been able to throw 2-0, 2-1, 3-1. I don't have that confidence in it right now to go out there and throw it like I have in the past. That's what I've been working on the past couple of weeks, trying to get a feel for it. ... It's all release point-related. Once you find a release point, the changeup will come into effect. That's been up, too. If my four-seamer and two-seamer are down, usually the changeup is down, too.Michael Silverman of the Herald posted this sad comparison:
John Lackey, 2011: 3 starts, 9.82 ERA, .323 opponents avg., 3 HR allowed
Buchholz, 2012: 3 starts, 9.00 ERA, .324 opponents avg., 6 HR allowed ...
Buchholz needs to get different results starting tonight. No pitcher wants to hear he's beginning to resemble Lackey.