May 13, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino (18) in the dugout at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Boston Red Sox vs. Kansas City Royals

The Boston Red Sox kick off the second half of the season against the Kansas City Royals with a three game series this weekend at Fenway. if you’re looking to attend, you can find Red Sox tickets available from Coast to Coast Tickets.

Clay Buchholz (4-5, 5.42) gets the ball in the opener against James Shields (9-5, 3.65), while Rubby De La Rosa (2-2, 2.89) faces Danny Duffy (5-9, 2.76) on Saturday, and Jon Lester (9-7. 2.65) will match up against flame thrower Yordano Ventura (7-7, 3.22) on Sunday afternoon.

Buchholz really struggled in the first half, posting a 5.42 ERA in his 14 starts with hitters hitting almost .300 against him. Meanwhile the staff ace and a true work horse for the Royals, Shields has put up a 3.65 ERA in 20 starts and more than 130 innings.

De La Rosa has been a real gem in his six starts with the big league club this year, as he has an ERA of 2.89 and has put in seven innings in half of the starts he has made. Lester is proving to be a true ace, and a man who is going to be worth a whole lot of money if the Red Sox can’t lock him up before free agency, as he has a 2.65 ERA over 129 innings.

Duffy and Ventura have been really good since making it to the big leagues this year, with Duffy holding batters to a .208 batting average, and Ventura keeping hitters under .250.

While there are only seven teams in the league with fewer wins than the Red Sox, who many experts believe are already out of contention for the season, the Royals have just five more wins, but sit in second place in their division. The Red Sox are in the basement of the AL East.

The Royals come into the weekend with the fewest home runs in baseball, 55, while the Red Sox are tied for the fifth most allowed: 97, including 25 from the weekend’s starters.

The biggest news from the series may be the expected return of Shane Victorino on Saturday. Victorino has played in just 21 games for the Red Sox this year after being a key piece to the World Series winning team just a year ago. The outfield has been a real weak spot for the Red Sox as the Grady Sizemore experiment did not work, and as bright as the futures may be for Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr., they are not ideal candidates to be holding down regular playing time in the outfield.

The Red Sox need to start the second half hot, as another losing streak could mean their season might be over. The Royals are also hoping to get off to a good start given they are just 2.5 games out of a Wild Card spot.

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Tags: Boston Red Sox Clay Buchholz Jon Lester Series Preview Shane Victorino

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