The Red Sox head to Pittsburgh today for a three-game set with the Pirates that begins on Tuesday night. After taking three of four from the Royals, the Sox look to continue to play the role of spoiler as they take on a Pirates team battling for a playoff spot in the NL.
The Pirates come in hot, having won eight of their last 10 to move 1.5 games ahead of the Brewers for the final Wild Card spot.
The Red Sox meanwhile come in boasting a new-look starting lineup that will have no Dustin Pedroia and, in all likelihood, no David Ortiz as he tends to a family matter in the Dominican Republic.
Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts instead lead the Sox, as they’ve become a dynamic 1-2 punch atop the lineup.
Here are the probable pitching matchups:
Tuesday September 16, 7:05 PM: Anthony Ranaudo (3-2, 5.40) vs. Charlie Morton (5-12, 3.84)
Wednesday September 17, 7:05 PM: Clay Buchholz (8-8, 5.19) vs. Francisco Liriano (5-10, 3.53)
Thursday September 18, 7:05 PM: Brandon Workman (1-9, 5.27) vs. Gerrit Cole (9-5, 3.92)
One of the questions asked was if he could take any one player from the Red Sox for their playoff run, who would he take? The answer, an easy one at the beginning of the season, is a bit more tricky after the Sox held a trade deadline yard sale. Tom pointed out that the Pirates could use a first baseman, an ace and a dominant reliever; many of which the Sox are no longer in possession of.
BSI: The Central Division has been close all season and has seen another shakeup with Milwaukee’s struggles. Who do you think wins the division and who will end up with a Wild Card spot?
RB: The Cardinals have the division. I guess the Pirates [will win the wildcard] by default thanks to [the Brewers’] poor play. The Bucs have not won more than four games in a row all season. It’s been an amazing season on many levels for the Bucs.
BSI: The Pirates surprised some people by staying quiet at the trade deadline. If they get into the playoffs, do you think they have enough talent to make a World Series run?
RB: Certainly they have enough to get there if everything falls just right. But that’s a massive “if.” By not adding to the club, it has exposed the flaws in the Bucs’ roster construction on numerous occasions this year.