The starting pitching for the Boston Red Sox has been better than advertised in the early part of the 2013 season. On Sunday, Clay Buchholz continued the trend with a brilliant performance in which he gave up just two hits in eight innings.
Buchholz took a no-hitter into the eighth against the Tampa Bay Rays, but a leadoff broken-bat single by left fielder Kelly Johnson broke up the right-hander’s opportunity to duplicate his 2007 masterpiece. Buchholz ended up striking out 11 batters in route to his third victory of the season (3-0).
Along with Jon Lester, Buchholz has given the Red Sox an absolutely dominant one-two punch thus far in April. The two starters combined are now 5-0 with a ridiculously low 0.88 ERA. Further, they have struck out 41 batters in 41 innings and given up just 26 hits along the way.
At 7-4, the Red Sox are off to their best start since their 2007 World Series winning campaign. Though starting off the season strong is always a priority coming out of spring training, this year it was especially important because the Red Sox’ first 13 games were against opponents from within their division.
The Sox will go for a three-game series sweep on Monday (Friday’s game was rained out) in the annual Patriots Day game at Fenway Park at 11:05 am EDT, with Ryan Dempster (0-1, 3.60 ERA) squaring off against the Rays’ Jeremy Hellickson (0-1, 6.35).
(JM Catellier is the author of the book Fixing Baseball, a guide to restructuring the Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter: @FixingBaseball and Facebook, and check out his site: www.fixingbaseball.com)