The Sox, having lost 3 straight, needed a good start from Buchholz and some production from their offense. They got both. Buchholz went the distance, allowing 4 hits, only walking 1, striking out 6, and shutting out the Orioles.
Over his last three starts, Buchholz has pitched 24 innings and allowed 4 runs (1.50 ERA). He's striking batters out, he's getting them to ground out (he induced 3 double play balls last night), he's finally pitching as well as his 6-2 record suggests he can pitch. He's no longer a worry in the rotation.
Brian Matusz struggled to throw strikes, and the Sox took advantage. They drew 5 walks off him. And were up 4-0 by the time he was pulled in the 3rd. If anything, they could have scored more runs off him. But I'll take the 7 runs and the win.
Nava and Gonzalez each knocked in 2 runs. Pedroia and Youkilis each had an RBI.
This was the first time the Sox beat the Orioles in Fenway Park since September 19, 2011. Brian Matusz got the loss that night as well. I'm glad that shameful streak is over.
The good news is that the Sox didn't fall below .500. And the great news is that Buchholz is pitching extremely well. Right now, I'd say that Buchholz is the best pitcher in the rotation, with Beckett a close second. Doubront would be a solid third. If Lester could get going, then the Sox could start to scare opponents. Beckett, Buchholz, and Lester all at their best are quite formidable. Add Doubront's solidity, then Daisuke's potential to be a quality 4/5 guy, and the sky is the limit.
The Sox bats will be challenged this weekend as the 1st place Washington Nationals come to Fenway. Doubront faces 6-1 Stephen Strasburg tonight.. Strasburg has a 2.35 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. Although he has had a shaky May.