Clay Buchholz has thrown a no-hitter, started a playoff game, and delivered in the heat of the pennant race. But it’s possible he’ll never make a bigger start than tomorrow’s.

The right-hander is scheduled to take the hill against the Royals when the Red Sox return to Fenway Park for the first time since the bombing that rocked Monday’s marathon.

And while his teammates to a man have repeated their hopes that maybe they can provide the tiniest measure of solace for a reeling region, Buchholz isn’t about to underestimate the healing power of baseball, especially in a city we once said lives and dies with its team, though that phrase now appears hideously inappropriate.

“I know people care a lot about the Red Sox to begin with, and this is beyond the Red Sox,” Buchholz said. “But knowing what took place and being a part of Red Sox Nation up there for a while, it’s going to be a really emotional day for everybody.”

The Bruins made their emotional return to the ice last night and brought down the roof when Rene Rancourt conducted the crowd through a moving rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and again when the marathoners in attendance stood to be recognized.

But the moment everyone wants to see is the return of the Red Sox to Fenway, because the team shares such a uniquely New England bond with the marathon. For one, the runners sprint within earshot of the bleachers as they pass through Kenmore Square. For another, the race and the traditional 11 a.m. Patriots Day baseball start create a daylong block party that heralds the unofficial start of spring.

All three teams in town possess rich histories in their own ways, but none matches the Red Sox for longevity of passion. When you then consider that the marathon might be Boston’s only sporting endeavor that’s older than the Sox, and it becomes clear why tomorrow has the potential to be so powerful.

For his part, Buchholz is acutely aware of the team’s sway.

“It’s the craziest sports town I’ve ever lived in as far as how much people care about what the teams up there do,” Buchholz said. “We’re privileged to be able to say we play for this specific team. For me, it goes back to going in hospitals with Dana-Farber and the kids and seeing not only their faces, but their parents’ faces whenever any Red Sox player walks in the door. That right there makes us feel like it’s a big deal to be able to do what we get to do. I know this team and organization has been at the forefront as far as being involved with everything that goes on in Boston.”