Red Sox vs Rangers – Series Quickie!
After losing to 2 of 3 from the Toronto Blue Jays this past weekend, the Boston Red Sox are now headed to Texas. Where the Sox will be visiting the Texas Rangers for the final three games of this road-trip. For the Sox who now only hold a one game advantage in the AL East, over the New York Yankees. Let’s jump right into this Red Sox vs Rangers series quickie, where the Sox need to salvage this trip and win at least 2 of these games, to help them break even on the road-trip at 3-3.
Game 1 – 7-20-09
Opening the series for the Sox will be John Smoltz (1-2) who opposes ex-teammate and pupil Kevin Millwood (8-7). Fans might not remember that these two were together for seven years, with the Atlanta Braves from 1997-2002. Where the veteran Smoltz took a young Millwood under his wing and helped mold him into the pitcher he is today.
Keys Of The Game: For the Sox it’s to jump on Millwood early in this game and give Smoltz a few runs to work with. Boston will need all hands on deck, not only for this game, but also in the series. For the Rangers they need to make Smoltz run his pitch count up quickly. Which means taking the first pitch and getting Smoltz out of the game early. Then try their luck verse the Sox bullpen which was used sparingly this past weekend.
Game 2 – 7-21-09
Josh Beckett (11-3) makes his first appearance on the mound in the second half of the season. After a stellar first half of the year, which saw Beckett and teammate Tim Wakefield, tying for the AL lead with 11 victories. He’s well rested and looks ready to continue his dominance on the mound. A young and relatively unknown Tommy Hunter (1-1) goes for Texas in the middle game of this series. Hunter who’s only 23 has never faced the Sox in his young career. Which just might be enough to help him baffle the Sox hitters, early on.
Keys Of The Game: Beckett needs to keep his pitches down in the zone, especially against this line-up. As the Rangers have proven they can win using the long-ball. Beckett needs to just throw strikes and let the seven guys behind him do their jobs. For Hunter, he needs to capitalize on the fact that the Sox scouting department isn’t going to have much on him. Which means for the first few innings the Sox hitters might be a bit baffled, as to what he throws and how. It’s a huge plus for the Rangers in this game!
Game 3 – 7-21-09
It’s a prime time Wednesday night baseball for this match-up, which features Wakefield (11-3) going against Vicente Padilla (7-5), as ESPN will be broadcasting this contest at 8:05 pm EST! Both pitchers will have plenty of rest as neither one has pitched since before the All-Star Game break, which is good news and bad news. Since the Rangers might be having a very long night facing the knuckleballer, especially with the humidity down in Texas.
Keys Of The Game: Wakefield will need to keep the knuckler bouncing and flopping all over the place the entire game. The heat and humidity down in Texas just might be the perfect place to help him do just that. The Rangers have had some success over the years facing Wake, but then again this is a whole new ballgame. Padilla’s no stranger to the Sox, since he owns a 2-3 record verse Boston in his career. He does however have a 4.84 ERA in 35 1/3 innings which doesn’t exactly bold confidence. The key for him is to stay out of trouble and just keep Texas in the game.