(Sports Network) - Clay Buchholz gets a chance tonight at becoming just the second 11-game winner in the majors this year and first in the American League, but the Boston hurler might have to do so without one of his team's hottest offensive players.
With Dustin Pedroia likely out due to a foot injury, the Red Sox try to draw even tonight in their three-game series at AT&T Park with the San Francisco Giants, who are expected to start prospect Madison Bumgarner.
Buchholz is 10-4 on the season with a 2.47 earned run average and is tied with the Yankees' Phil Hughes andDavid Price of the Rays for the most wins in the league. Price is also in action today, while the Rockies'Ubaldo Jimenez leads all MLB starters with 13 wins.
The 25-year-old Buchholz has won two straight and seven of his last eight starts, pitching to a 1.62 ERA while lasting at least seven innings in four of those outings. A 30-pitch first inning limited him to 6 2/3 scoreless innings versus the Dodgers on Sunday, but he gave up just three hits in a 2-0 victory.
"He is just a maturing young pitcher," Terry Francona told Boston's website. "His stuff is so good and now that he has some repetition under his belt, he is able to execute pitches as opposed to thinking about 19 different things that are going on. It is fun to watch."
The right-hander is also a solid 5-1 with a 1.74 ERA in six road starts as well as 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA in a pair of interleague starts. He has never before faced the Giants, though.
Buchholz will try to pitch Boston to a victory after it left 13 men on base in last night's 5-4 setback to San Francisco. The Red Sox loaded the bases in three of the final four innings, but plated just one run. That came in the ninth off Giants closer Brian Wilson, who allowed a two-out triple to Kevin Youkilis, who then scored on a single by Victor Martinez.
Wilson filled the bases in the frame, but escaped further damage by getting Darnell McDonald to ground out to end the game.
"Wilson's a good pitcher," Giants shortstop Juan Uribe told San Francisco's website after Wilson posted his 21st save of the season. "I don't ever get too nervous when Wilson goes on the mound. I believe in the guy and I know he can do it."
Uribe hit a solo homer in the win and Jonathan Sanchez threw 5 1/3 innings. He gave up just three hits, though one was a three-run homer by Youkilis in the first inning. Still, the Giants, who had lost four of six coming in, remained 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Padres in the NL West.
In losing for the third time in four games following six straight victories, the biggest blow for the Red Sox might have come when Pedroia fouled a ball off his left foot in the third inning, forcing his early exit. Though X-rays didn't show a break, he was still on crutches after the game and will have further tests done today.
"I'm sore," said Pedroia on Boston's website. "I'll get checked out [Saturday] and make sure we get to the bottom of everything. But I'm pretty disappointed."
In 13 games prior to Friday, Pedroia was hitting .500 (26-for-52) with four homers, 13 RBI and 17 runs scored. Three of those homers came in Thursday's 13-11 extra-inning win over Colorado.
Boston, which slipped three games behind the front-running New York Yankees in the AL East, will now try to spoil Bumgarner's season debut.
The 20-year-old was scheduled to start for Triple-A Fresno on Friday, but was scratched from that outing. Joe Martinez was slated to start tonight for the Giants, but he hasn't started since June 15 and warmed up in the third inning of last night's game.
So, Bumgarner will go instead after posting a 7-1 mark and 3.16 ERA in 14 starts with Fresno this year. The left-hander, who was the 10th overall pick of the 2007 draft, pitched in four games with the Giants last year as a September call-up, posting a 1.80 ERA without a decision.
Only one of those outings was a start and that game came on Sept. 8 versus the Padres. Bumgarner gave up two runs over 5 1/3 innings.
Like he did with Fresno, Buster Posey is slated to catch his former minor league teammate tonight. Posey, who had three hits in last night's game, made 32 of his 47 appearances in Triple-A this year behind the plate, but has made just one start at catcher with the Giants since his call-up on May 29.
The Red Sox swept a three-game series from the Giants when these teams met in Boston during the 2007 season. However, San Francisco won two of the three meetings between the clubs held at AT&T Park in 2004.