A strong pitching performance by Jake Peavy, some impressive defense, and timely hitting by A.J. Pierzynski and Will Middlebrooks on Wednesday helped the Red Sox climb back to an even record for the first time in over a month.
Now, the Sox hope that they can get back to a winning record for the first time since taking two out of three from the Orioles to open the 2014 season, something they can accomplish with a win Friday night in Texas.
Since falling to the Milwaukee Brewers on April 4 in their Fenway opener, the Red Sox haven’t had a record over .500 in five weeks, after not going a single day with less wins than losses for the entirety of their 2013 championship season.
Clay Buchholz gets the start for the Red Sox tonight, hoping to build off a strong outing he had last week against the Oakland A’s, when he went 6.1 innings and allowed one run on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts. It was Buchholz’s best start of the season, in which he has struggled to a record of 2-2 with a 5.63 ERA in six starts.
Buchholz has faced four current Rangers hitters more than 10 times, J.P. Arencibia has faced hit 20 times and hasn’t gotten a hit in any of those appearances; Alex Rios has three hits and two walks in 19 plate appearances; Shin-Soo Choo has one hit and two walks in 13 time facing Buchholz; and Prince Fielder has two hits and a walk in 12 career plate appearances.
Opposing Buchholz will be Yu Darvish, who has been electric in his young Rangers career. After leading the league with 277 strikeouts in 2013, Darvish has a 2-1 record in six starts in 2014 with an ERA of 2.87.
Only a few of the Red Sox have faced Darvish in their careers, with Dustin Pedroia being the most successful, collecting four hits, including three doubles, and an RBI in seven at bats. Mike Carp has faced Darvish eight times and reached base just once on a walk, while Will Middlebrooks and Mike Napoli are hitless in their careers against the Texas righthander. David Ortiz and David Ross each have hit home runs off of Darvish in three careers plate appearances.