Boston hopes Clay Buchholz can give a better effort tonight than his golfing buddy did on Thursday, as the Red Sox continue a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox lost for the sixth straight time at home last night, as Michael Brantley went 4-for-5 with two runs batted in and a run scored, helping Cleveland to an 8-3 win.
Jack Hannahan hit a two-run homer and Jason Kipnis added a solo home run for the Indians, who had dropped their previous two after winning three straight. Derek Lowe (5-1) gave up two runs on nine hits over six innings to win his third straight decision.
Dustin Pedroia hit a solo home run while Daniel Nava and Mike Aviles each drove in a run for the Red Sox, who have lost three straight and eight of their last nine overall.
Another loss tonight, though, would give the Red Sox their worst stretch at home since a 12-game skid from June 3-29, 1994
Josh Beckett (2-4), who was under heat for playing golf with Buchholz last week after missing a start with soreness in his right side, didn't make it out of the third inning as he was tagged for seven runs on seven hits for his second straight loss.
"Of course we would like them to pitch deep. They're all really talented and really good," said Red Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach. "Got to get over that hump -- we've got to get rolling a little bit. Those guys need to feed off of one another and continue to work hard. We've seen it before. There's still a long way to go."
Buchholz will try to right the ship tonight, as he attempts to get his own season on the right path. Buchholz owns the majors' worst ERA at 9.09, and has allowed at least five earned runs in every start this season. Only one pitcher in the AL, Los Angeles' Ervin Santana, has allowed more home runs, 12, than Buchholz's 10. Despite all that, he is 3-1.
"It's been a rough six weeks to start the season off," Buchholz said. "There's been times where, in an outing, you're thinking about, 'OK, this is going to be the outing that changes everything?' and a big inning happens and it brings you back to square one. That's what we've been doing, working on trying to figure out a way to minimize the damage in those big innings."
Cleveland, meanwhile, will rely on righty Ubaldo Jimenez, who is coming off a solid effort his last time out. Jimenez beat the Texas Rangers on Sunday, scattering two hits over seven scoreless innings to run his record to 3-2, while lowering his ERA to 4.04. He did, though, continue to struggle with his command, as he walked five batters and has issued an AL-high 25 free passes in 35 2/3 innings this season.
Cleveland was 6-4 last season versus the Red Sox.