Rebirth. New beginning. Second chance.
Whatever you want to deem it, Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz's start Wednesday against the Mariners at Safeco Field should at least help the right-hander forget about his first 10, when he posted uncharacteristic numbers (2-4, 7.02 ERA) before landing on the 15-day disabled with a hyperextended left knee in late May.
Boston plans to activate Buchholz before his start and make a corresponding roster move.
It will mark his first Major League appearance since the injury and give him the chance to build off two rehab starts with Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 0-1 with a 2.53 ERA in 10 2/3 innings.
Before Buchholz went down, he was struggling to throw his secondary pitches for strikes and not seeing the results that helped him make the 2013 American League All-Star team.
"There is nothing I can do about the numbers that are out there right now," he said. "I have to go out and pitch well, give us a chance to win. There's no other way to do it. That's my mindset."
With an 8-2 loss to the Mariners on Tuesday, Boston's record dropped to 35-43.
"It's sort of what our job is, but it's tough to sit back and watch," he said. "It really stinks when the team is scuffling a bit and you can't help."
Meanwhile, the Mariners have won five in a row and send pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma (5-3, 3.04 ERA) to the mound in search of a three-game sweep. Last week in Kansas City, Iwakuma went just five-plus innings and allowed five runs on nine hits and a walk en route to a no-decision. Iwakuma struck out five, but he gave up a pair of fifth-inning home runs to Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas before failing to record an out in the sixth and getting taken out.
Between starts, the 33-year-old right-hander played catch off flat ground instead of his bullpen session, as he continues to deal with a sore neck that he aggravated in mid-June. Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said Iwakuma is getting better but isn't quite back to 100 percent. McClendon added that he couldn't remember the last time ace Felix Hernandez threw a bullpen session between outings.
"I think it's smart from time to time to rest and freshen them up," McClendon said.
Chavez finding groove
With the Mariners facing Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy on Tuesday, outfielder Endy Chavez was in the leadoff spot for the third consecutive night. Promising rookie center fielder James Jones batted second. It's a lineup that McClendon is going to more lately after Jones primarily batted leadoff throughout May.
Why put Chavez in front of Jones?
"He's a veteran. I think in a lot of ways he kind of shows the way for Jonesy a little bit, takes a little bit of pressure off him," McClendon said. "[He] kind of leads him a little as to what he should do and how he should do it. That rubs off a little bit."
Chavez, 36, doesn't fit the typical profile of a leadoff hitter. Entering Tuesday, he didn't have a stolen base to his credit and his on-base percentage was .257. Then, he went 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI and lifted his batting average to .263.
In Monday's 12-3 win over the Red Sox, he lined a bases-loaded triple off Boston starter John Lackey, driving in three runs. Off the bat, the ball looked catchable, but it sailed over Brock Holt's head in right, then bounced all the way to the wall.
It was arguably the season's high point for Chavez, who spent the first two months with Triple-A Tacoma. Since being recalled, he's made it a point to mentor Jones.
"He's a very good player. I like him. He's learning," Chavez said of Jones. "He's getting experience here in the Majors, and I'm just always trying to explain to him a lot of situations."
Bogaerts moved down in the order
Stuck in a 5-for-52 slump entering Tuesday, Red Sox third baseman Xander Bogaerts was dropped to seventh in the lineup after spending about the last month hitting in the No. 2 spot. He responded with a 1-for-4 night.
"He's missed some pitches," Red Sox manager John Farrell said before the game. "Can't say that he's been out front. He's just missed some pitches in the strike zone. So he's moving down in the lineup for a couple of reasons. One, to give him a little bit of a breather. Two, to break up the run of left-handers in the bottom part of the order."
• Red Sox pitcher Brandon Workman's six-game suspension ended Tuesday. Farrell said the right-hander could return to the rotation Friday, when Boston opens a three-game series in New York.
• The Mariners own a plus-52 run differential, the second best mark in the Major Leagues behind Oakland.
Adam Lewis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.