ASTROS (88-48) AT BLUE JAYS (54-82)
3:07 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, ATTSN-SW, MLB.TV
It’s probably too late for the Toronto Blue Jays (+1.5) to get their money’s worth out of veteran right-hander Clay Buchholz, but any returns would be welcome at this point.
Buchholz is scheduled to start against the visiting Houston Astros (-1.5) on Saturday night in the second game of a three-game series.
It will be his second start since missing 3 1/2 months due to a right shoulder strain.
Buchholz (0-3, 5.87 ERA) went 7-2 with a 2.01 ERA in 16 starts with the Arizona Diamondbacks (+1.5) after they signed him in early May last season.
Believing Buchholz still had something left and should still be familiar with the American League East after playing for the Boston Red Sox from 2007-16, the Blue Jays signed him to a one-year, $3 million deal during spring training.
Buchholz, who turned 35 this month, pitched well in his season debut on April 13 against the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing one run and six hits in six innings, but the Blue Jays didn’t score any runs while he was in the game before eventually winning 3-1.
He had similar results in his return on Sunday in Seattle, allowing the Mariners two runs and three hits in six innings, but again was affected by a lack of run support and took a 3-1 loss.
Buchholz’s last win came on Aug. 22, 2018, when he threw seven shutout innings against the Los Angeles Angels.
“I’ve had to deal with a lot of different types of issues, even non-baseball-related issues that have sidelined me for an extended period of time,” Buchholz told reporters after his most recent outing. “I’ve always said it’s how you come back. It’s not how you are when you’re out there to begin with, it’s how you come back. That’s the thought process I chose to stick with.”
Buchholz has made six starts in his career against Houston, going 3-1 with a 3.05 ERA. He hasn’t face the Astros since May 2016, when he was still with the Red Sox.
Astros rookie Framber Valdez (4-6, 5.14 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Buchholz.
The left-hander is making his second start since replacing Aaron Sanchez in the rotation. Sanchez is on the 10-day injured list due to soreness in his right pectoral muscle.
Valdez was recalled for Sunday’s start against the Angels in the series finale, and he allowed one run and two hits in six innings of an 11-2 win. He struck out eight to match a season high, but walked a season-high five batters as well.
It was a good measuring stick for Valdez, who made his previous major league start against the Angels on July 15, allowing seven runs (four earned) and six hits in four innings of a 9-6 loss.
He was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock the next day.
“Valdez will go through stretches where you think he’s having trouble with his command and trouble throwing strikes,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “The tough part is when he starts throwing strikes, his stuff is good enough to get swings and misses. He’s got a good breaking ball and he can throw up to 95 (mph).”
Before the win against the Angels, his last win as a member of the Astros came against the Blue Jays on June 15, when he went six innings and allowed two runs and four hits. He had eight strikeouts. That was his lone career outing vs. Toronto.
Rowdy Tellez had a particularly tough time against Valdez, striking out in three of his four plate appearances.
–Field Level Media