Clay Buchholz: Boston Red Sox SP May Provide Lift After Ellsbury Injury

Jeff GrantContributor IApril 14, 2012

ST PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 16:  Pitcher Clay Buchholz #11 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on June 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox (2-5) continue a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday afternoon inside Fenway Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 4:05 p.m. ET.

Las Vegas oddsmakers have established the Red Sox as -130 home favorites after snapping a two-game losing streak, and the total stands at nine.

Boston started the season 0-4 during day games before Friday's 12-2 matinee victory, but the club also suffered a devastating blow to its starting lineup. Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is expected to miss six to eight weeks with a shoulder injury after trying to break up a double play at second base.

Clay Buchholz (0-0, 15.75 ERA) may provide a lift for the club due to his career numbers versus Tampa Bay. Bucholz has a 4-2 record and 1.81 ERA in eight starts against the Rays. The right-hander has managed to allow three earned runs or less in each of those outings.

The Red Sox are 11-4 in Buchholz's last 15 starts as a favorite of -110 to -150, while the "under" is 16-5-1 in that situation.

Tampa Bay has dropped three of four games on its recent road trip, which immediately followed a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. The Rays have managed to score just eight combined runs away from the Sunshine State, with the "under" going 2-1-1 over that span.

Jeremy Hellickson (1-0, 0.00 ERA) is coming off a brilliant performance against the Bronx Bombers, tossing 8.2 shutout innings and scattering just three hits in a 3-0 win on April 8. He will be closely monitored on the mound in this one after throwing 118 pitches in that effort.

In five career appearances (four starts) versus the Red Sox, Hellickson is 2-1 with a 4.21 ERA, including a perfect 2-0 mark and 4.26 ERA in three outings at Fenway Park. Sports bettors will need to be cautious, though as the Rays are 1-4  in his last five starts as a road underdog.

Weather forecasts are calling for mostly cloudy skies and game-time temperatures in the mid to upper-60s, with 10-15 mph winds out of the southwest (out to center).

Total players will find that the "over" was 9-3 and games averaged 11.67 runs in those conditions inside this historic ballpark last year.