Jered Weaver-Clay Buchholz matchup a tough one to stomach
There's a chance things could get a little messy on the Fenway Park mound Monday night when two pitchers battling stomach sickness square off in the first game of a four-game series between the Angels and Boston Red Sox.
Unbeaten Jered Weaver of the Angels was scratched from his scheduled Sunday start in Tampa with a stomach virus so potent he was sent to a hospital to receive fluids intravenously. He tried to talk Manager Mike Scioscia into letting him pitch anyway, but Scioscia, fearing that Weaver could become dehydrated and suffer an injury, said there was a "0.0%" chance his pitcher would win that debate.
Clay Buchholz was also set to pitch Sunday before being sent home the day before with what his manager, Terry Francona, called "intestinal turmoil."
Weaver has made opposing hitters look sick this year, leading the majors with a 6-0 record and two complete games and topping the American League in strikeouts (49), ERA (0.99) and opponents' batting average (.163). If he wins Monday, he would become the first starter to go 7-0 in his team's first 29 games since Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2000.
According to the the Elias Sports Bureau, you'd have to go back quite a bit further to find the last time a pitcher won seven starts by May 2. In 1891, Sadie McMahon of the Baltimore Orioles of the National League was 9-0 through games of April 30, with two wins coming in relief.
Buchholz, meanwhile, was a little shaky even before he got sick, going 1-3 with a 5.33 ERA in five starts. Control has been a problem, with Buchholz walking 16 -- against 15 strikeouts -- in 27 innings.
The pitching matchups for the rest of the series could be compelling as well, though for reasons that have nothing to do with viruses. On Tuesday, Boston will send left-hander Jon Lester (3-1, 3.25 ERA) against Dan Haren (4-1, 1.23). On Wednesday former Angel John Lackey is expected to take Daisuke Matsuzaka's spot in the Red Sox rotation and face Ervin Santana (1-3, 4.89), while in Thursday's day game the Angels' Joel Pineiro (0-0, 1.29) will face former World Series MVP Josh Beckett (2-1, 2.65).
Matsuzaka, who held the Angels to a hit in eight innings when the teams met in Anaheim last month, had his scheduled rematch Wednesday postponed due to a balky elbow.
-- Kevin Baxter in Boston
Photo: Jered Weaver. Credit: Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press