Clay Buchholz looked great Wednesday, going seven innings with seven strikeouts, just one walk allowed, and no runs given up. He did, however, throw 127 pitches in the outing–between pitches being fouled off and a few balls that could have been strikes, his seventh and final frame ended up being his most difficult. He escaped the bases loaded jam to finish off his start, though, striking out Austin Jackson to end the inning.
You don’t like to see that in a pitcher–there is a difference between reaching 127 pitches and struggling to 127–but Buchholz did not look like his mechanics were changing during the inning. Were that to have happened, he could have been opening himself up to an injury.
You never want to see that, but you especially don’t want to after he has struck out 22 batters against just five walks in 25 1/3 May innings. We told you that you didn’t need to worry!
The offense didn’t make a dent in the Tigers box score until after starter Phil Coke game out of the game. It’s easy to point at Boston and wonder where the bats were, but Coke was on his game: He got through seven innings, struck out four batters, walked just one, and scattered three hits. He threw just 78 pitches, but a rain delay forced him from the start–good thing, too, as he didn’t look like he was going to let anyone score while he was throwing nearly 70 percent strikes.
Boston saw roughly the same kind of performance from Scott Baker on May 6. Guys like that tend to give up homers (Baker gave up two solo shots in that game, even), but the Sox didn’t touch Coke. While he has a 3.88 ERA, he isn’t a huge strike thrower–his strikeout rate as a starter is a good K-and-a-half below-average, and he has walked three per nine for his career–so the Sox just happened to run in to an efficient Phil Coke at his best, not the standard issue version. Since they won, we don’t have to dwell on that too much (Tigers fans, on the other hand, are probably upset this one got away from them).
Josh Beckett (8.6 K/9, 3.3 K/BB, 1.75 Run Average) faces off against Tigers ace (and personal favorite) Justin Verlander (8.6 K/9, 3.0 K/BB, 2.91 RA) tonight. This is a heavyweight bout, and I want a good clean fight. Preferably with lots and lots of strikeouts (and an eventual Sox victory).
Of course, with the way baseball works, since Phil Coke got to plow through the Sox lineup no problem, Verlander will probably get shelled.