Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz was off to a Cy Young Award-caliber start before being sidelined for three months by bursitis in his right shoulder and a neck strain. But Buchholz (12-1, 1.74) returned in September and allowed a combined five earned runs in his final four starts, including a Sept. 10 win over the Rays. "Everything is pretty much back to normal," he said. Buchholz has been tough on Tampa Bay, 2.41 ERA in 16 regular-season starts and a 2.26 ERA at the Trop that's the best among active pitchers. He hasn't given up a run in 13 innings over two starts against the Rays this season. "He's thrown the ball well against us," Rays third baseman Evan Longoria said, "so I think we definitely need to do our homework and be prepared for him."
Joe Smith, Times staff writer