Thursday, April 25, 2013

Know Your Enemy: Clay Buchholz

Since losing the last five games of their west coast road trip, the Astros are 3-3 and are coming off their second series win of the season. Now they head off for a brutal seven-game stretch on the road against the Red Sox and Yankees. Tonight's first pitch is scheduled for 5:35pm Central.

The Red Sox just won a three-game series against the A's, with wins bookending a 13-0 loss. The Red Sox are 14-7, two games up in the AL East, but are 2-3 in their last five. In the all-time series, Boston leads Houston 7-2, and Doug Brocail is the only pitcher to record a win against Boston (on back-to-back days on June 28-29, 2008).

Taking the mound for the Red Sox is 28-year old 6'3" 190lb RHP (and Nederland-born, Lumberton-raised) Clay Buchholz.

*Buchholz went to college at McNeese State, but was dismissed from the team after he was arrested for stealing 29 computers from Lumberton Intermediate School and sold them to McNeese State students.
*He transferred to Angelina Community College, where he set single-season records in ERA (1.05), complete games (7), and strikeouts (129).
*Buchholz was Boston's 2nd pick in the 2005 draft (42nd overall), taken four selections after the Astros picked Eli Iorg and 18 picks after the Astros drafted Brian Bogusevic. The 1st Round of the 2005 draft brought the Red Sox Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, and Jed Lowrie.
*On September 1, 2007 - his 2nd Major-League start - Buchholz threw a no-hitter against the Orioles, becoming the third pitcher since 1900 to throw a no-hitter that quickly into his career. Before his first major-league start (August 17), manager Terry Francona said:
"This kid can come up and pitch a no-hitter, and he's going to go back down. If he throws a no-hitter, I may send him back with a present. But he's going back." 
*Buchholz's distant cousin is former Astro Taylor Buchholz, who was acquired from the Phillies in the Billy Wagner trade, and was traded to the Rockies in the Jason Jennings deal.

*The Red Sox are 4-0 when Buchholz pitches, having allowed 19H/3ER, 29K:11BB in 30IP. His four wins, 0.90 ERA and 474 ERA+ all lead the American League. In his last 23IP (three starts), he has allowed 13H/2ER (both to Kansas City), with 25K:0BB.
*Righties have a .648 OPS against Buchholz this year, while lefties have a stout .431 OPS (.113/.242/.189).
*With runners in scoring position (25 PAs), opponents are hitting .087/.125/.174 with a .125 BABIP.
*He has never faced Houston.

*The Astros send Phil Humber back out there, who should be well-rested after throwing just 30 pitches on Saturday against Cleveland, when they tagged him up for eight earned runs and one out.
*Humber's Game Score of 2 last Saturday was the worst for an Astros pitcher since August 14, 2009, when Wandy Rodriguez threw a 1 against Milwaukee.
*In his career, Humber is 2-2 against Boston. On April 26, 2012 - the start after his perfect game - Humber allowed 8H/9ER, 5K:3BB, 3HR to the Red Sox.
*Current Red Sox are 10x46 against Humber. Jarrod Saltalamacchia has three hits off Humber: a double and two homers.