Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Buchholz Buckles Down

The Sox offense continues to struggle but Buchholz didn't need much support to beat the Marlins. He struck out 9 in 7 innings, allowing just 5 hits, 1 run, and walked only 2. The run he allowed came from a solo homerun. My favorite stat from his performance is that he threw a first-pitch strike to 20 of the 26 batters he faced.

Buchholz has been an Ace lately. In his last 4 starts he's pitched 31 innings, and allowed only 5 earned runs (1.45 ERA). He's struck out 28 and only walked 7. He has a WHIP of 0.968 over those 4 starts.

The Sox truly needed a great start last night because the offense was once again almost completely absent. The first 5 hitters in the Sox lineup combined to go 1 for 18 with a single and a walk.

Kelly Shoppach was 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles. One of them knocked in a run. Mike Aviles had an RBI single that knocked in Shoppach. Both Sox runs were scored in the 7th. The Sox only had 6 hits, 5 of which came from the bottom of the order, and only 1 came with runners in scoring position.

The Sox avoided wasting yet another good outing by a starting pitcher. Nevertheless, scoring 2 runs a game is not part of a formula to win consistently. Pedroia and Youkilis continue to slump. The offense is being carried by guys like Kelley Shoppach. And how long can they bear the burden? How much production can you hope to squeeze out of these support guys while stars like Gonzalez struggle to do what they're paid to do?

The Sox have scored the second most runs in the Majors. But they come in bunches, not as a steady flow. There's stretches of pouring rain then extended periods of drought. It's a streaky lineup, sometimes scoring 8 runs with ease, sometimes struggling to score more than 2.

The rubber game with the Marlins (the Sox' interleague "rival" for the year) is tonight. Felix Doubront faces Ricky Nolasco. Both these pitchers might give up a couple of runs so it's important that the Sox take advantage of offensive opportunities.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

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