In 2006, the Red Sox used the 71st pick in the amateur draft to select Justin Masterson.
Three years later, the Red Sox coveted the talents of Victor Martinez, then employed by the Cleveland Indians. By then, Buchholz had joined the big club's rotation and management wasn't giving him up. Masterson was also pitching for the Red Sox, but he'd been consigned to relief duties.
The Indians almost certainly asked Theo Epstein about Buchholz, but settled for Masterson (and two Red Sox minor leaguers) and the deal for Martinez was done.
Since then? After joining the Indians, Masterson returned to starting and went 1-7 with a 4.55 ERA the rest of the way. Things didn't get much better last season: 6-13, 4.70 ERA. Masterson probably deserved better, though, as his sinker was working and his peripheral stats were actually pretty good. He pitched particularly well down the stretch; in his last 11 games -- including five relief outings, presumably to limit his innings -- Masterson posted a 2.51 ERA and gave up just one home run in 46 innings.
Small sample size? This season he's got a 2.57 ERA, and has given up just one home run in 67 innings.
That's impressive. The ERAs, yes, but especially the two homers in 113 innings. Masterson's not a strikeout pitcher, so to be successful he has to limit his walks while keeping the ball a) on the ground, and b) in the ballpark. Which he's been doing, obviously. But two home runs in 113 innings is impossible to sustain, which is why you can probably bet on Masterson's ERA winding up somewhere north of 3 this season.
Meanwhile, Buchholz is no longer the strikeout machine he was in the minors, and during his early action with the Red Sox. But he did go 17-7 last season with a 2.33 ERA. And while Masterson's certainly been the better pitcher this season -- Buchholz entered Monday's start having given up seven home runs in 53 innings -- the Red Sox are probably happy to have him. Just as the Indians are happy to have Masterson.
In the end, neither happy-monger figured in the decision.
Boston struck first, on Dustin Pedroia's two-out single in the third inning that plated Carl Crawford; it was the slumping Pedroia's first RBI since the 2nd of May. Asdrubal Cabrera evened the score with a leadoff homer -- his 10th of the season -- in the bottom of the fifth.
For quite a while, it looked like the difference in the game would be a hanging change-up and a great swing; the change-up was Masterson's and the swing was Carl Crawford's, which gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth inning.
Masterson and Buchholz kept the score at 2-1 into the bottom of the eighth.
Masterson departed after 7-2/3 innings and 112 pitches.
Buchholz went 7-1/3 before giving way to Daniel Bard, with a runner on second base.
That runner -- pinch-runner Adam Everett -- was there as a result of Jack Hannahan's leadoff single, which might well have been an out if second baseman Dustin Pedroia hadn't earlier hurt his ankle while running the bases, and been replaced by Drew Sutton.
In the event, Bard retired pinch-hitter Carlos Santana before Michael Brantley ripped a two-strike, two out single into right field, with Everett scoring the tying run just ahead of J.D. Drew's throw home. Worse for the Red Sox, the red-hot Asdrubal Cabrera was due next. With Brantley on second base, Terry Francona eschewed the intentional walk, and Cabrera sliced a double off the left-field wall to put the Indians ahead.
In the top of the ninth, Chris Perez got into serious trouble with one out, allowing a walk and a single, but induced a sharp grounder from Carl Crawford, right at second baseman Orlando Cabrera, who started the game-ending double play. Perez earned his 13th save in 14 chances, and the Cleveland Indians ran their record to 30-15, best in the majors.