After a long-awaited offensive outburst helped Boston top its bitter rival and end a season-opening six-game slide, the Red Sox look to post their first winning streak Saturday as Clay Buchholz(notes) tries to beat the Yankees.
The offseason acquisitions of Carl Crawford(notes) and Adrian Gonzalez(notes) were expected to give Boston (1-6) one of baseball’s most powerful lineups, but it scored only 16 runs and hit .181 in the season’s first week. Combined with a pitching staff that posted a 7.13 ERA, it was easy to see why the Red Sox lost six consecutive games to open a season for the first time since 1945.
John Lackey(notes) didn’t do anything to help that ERA by surrendering six runs over five innings in Friday’s home opener, but Boston’s lineup finally came through. Despite another hitless game from Crawford in his first appearance atop the order, the Red Sox beat the Yankees 9-6 as they posted four more runs and hits (12) than they did in any other game.
“It seems like guys were calm, weren’t jumping at the ball,” said Dustin Pedroia(notes), who had three hits and his first homer. “This is our park. We were on the road six days and we didn’t get comfortable.
“We have a lot of expectations, too. We don’t want to let anybody down.”
“They’ve got a great team,” Martin said. “(Going) 0-6 is not a good indication of how they’re playing. … You’re not playing the record.”
Buchholz (0-1, 5.68 ERA) will hope to keep that momentum going while bouncing back from a bizarre first start. The right-hander only gave up five hits over 6 1-3 innings Sunday in Texas, but four of those were solo homers in a 5-1 loss.
Buchholz only allowed nine homers last season, tied for the fewest in the AL among pitchers who made at least 25 starts.
He’ll have his hands full Saturday. Buchholz is 1-2 with a 5.79 ERA in five career starts versus New York (4-3), walking 14 in 28 innings. Robinson Cano(notes) is 7 for 15 against him while Mark Teixeira(notes) is 4 for 9 with two homers.
Pitching at Fenway Park might be all Buchholz needs to recover, though. After opening 1-3 with a 4.84 ERA at home last season, Buchholz went 6-1 with a 1.21 ERA over his final nine starts at Fenway while not yielding a homer in 59 1-3 innings.
Boston’s lineup, meanwhile, should be able to put some more runs on the board Saturday. As a rookie in 2010, Ivan Nova(notes) (1-0, 4.50 ERA) was 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA in two late-season appearances - one start - against a Red Sox lineup missing most of its regulars.
Nova wasn’t spectacular in his season debut Monday against Minnesota, but he was effective. After lasting six innings only once in his final seven starts of 2010, the right-hander got through six while holding the Twins to three runs in a 4-3 victory.
“Nova did exactly what we expect him to do - go out and give us a chance to win,” Alex Rodriguez(notes) told the Yankees’ official website. “He’s got good stuff. Tonight, he made some pitches where I think perhaps last year, that game could have gotten away from him.”
The Red Sox have scored at least seven runs in their last six home wins against New York.