Red Sox Series Preview: @ Oakland Athletics

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May 9, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Red Sox third baseman

Pablo Sandoval

(48) and Boston Red Sox left fielder

Hanley Ramirez

(13) during batting practice before a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Red Sox Key Players To Watch:

  • As far as hitting goes, it’s not like there are many players to choose from on the Red Sox lineup who are raking out there. Center fielder Mookie Betts is arguably playing the best baseball on the team, in the last 7 days. He’s hitting .333, with 3 home runs and 3 RBIs. Pretty consistent. All of the pitches that he hits are absolutely drilled, earning a .905 slugging percentage, suggesting that he sees them like beach balls that he can punish, squarely.
  • Third baseman Pablo Sandoval would be next, in terms of his .278 batting average, with a home run and 2 RBIs, in the same span as Betts. He may only be hitting the ball at a .500 SLG, but he has also been contributing on defense. In the series in Toronto, Sandoval showed a lot of quickness to fielding short balls, including bunts, with nimble feet and accurate throws. Maybe a return to the west coast, where he played close to Oakland with the San Francisco Giants, will be a nice change for him. Sandoval did win 3 of the last 5 World Series championships out there.
  • Left fielder Hanley Ramirez has cooled off, as of May 1st, after a red-hot April. He has hit 10 home runs and 22 RBIs this season, but he has failed to cash a runner on base for the last 6 games. Still, this cooling period came around the same time as his injury to his power shoulder came, after ramming into the left field foul wall in Fenway Park. His numbers could be the result of his shoulder still bothering him, but Ramirez will need to turn the corner against two lefty Oakland pitchers, as Han-Ram has hit .421 against left-handed pitchers, this season.