Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tanaka vs. Buchholz to wrap up Sox-Yanks series

The most compelling pitching matchup of this three-game series will be on display in Sunday night's finale at Yankee Stadium. For the Red Sox, Clay Buchholz is trying to duplicate what he did on Opening Day, when he allowed three hits while striking out nine over seven shutout innings against the Phillies. Masahiro Tanaka, on the other hand, is trying to reverse course after laboring (4 innings, 5 hits, 4 ER) in his first outing against the Blue Jays.
This is the last game between the rivals until May 1, when the Yankees come to Fenway Park for a three-game series.
Things to know about this game
• Tanaka has added motivation to pitch a good game, as there's been a lot of chatter about his decreased velocity and questions about the health of his right elbow. Hall of Fame electee Pedro Martinez recently speculated that Tanaka is pitching at "65 percent" health. In Tanaka's outing against the Blue Jays, just 27 of his 82 pitches were fastballs.
• Alex Rodriguez has feasted against Buchholz over the years, going 10-for-25 with two homers and seven RBIs. Tanaka has held Xander Bogaerts to just one hit in eight at-bats.
• Though Opening Day was an exception, Tanaka has generally thrived at Yankee Stadium in his career, going 6-3 with a 2.44 ERA in 15 starts. Buchholz has performed well on the road in his career, posting a 37-23 record and a 3.82 ERA. Buchholz has earned a decision in all seven starts he's made at Yankee Stadium, going 4-3 with a 4.05 ERA.

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