Red Sox Series Preview: Vs. Minnesota Twins

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May 23, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman

Mike Napoli

(12) is greeted at the dugout by third baseman

Pablo Sandoval

(48) after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Red Sox’ Key Players To Watch:

  • First baseman Mike Napoli went nuclear on Angels’ pitching, in the last two games, hitting three home runs and seven RBIs. With a .429 batting average, five home runs, and 10 RBIs in the last seven games, Napoli is the hottest thing in Boston. But, that was in Boston. His hot streak only brought his season batting average to .203 last night, with a .149 average for away games. Has the real Napoli arrived for the Red Sox, or were the last few days a flash in the pan?
  • Shortstop Xander Bogaerts can relate to Napoli’s success. Bogaerts went 4-for-4 at the plate, yesterday, with a home run and three RBIs in his last seven games. He leads the team with a .455 batting average in that stretch, but he has only .290 for the season. Sadly, that average still leads all of the starters on the team. In Bogaerts’ case, if you told him that he would be hitting this well before the season started, he would have been a very happy man, considering his dismal .240 average in 2014. Let’s see if he can improve on an already more successful campaign.
  • Right fielder Rusney Castillo is not on this list because of his excellent play. In fact, he has only earned a hit three times in 12 at-bats, with no big displays of power or RBI potential, since being called up from Triple-A. He was brought up to replace veteran Shane Victorino, while he is out injured; yet, Castillo makes some big money, himself. The Red Sox are expected to pay $60.4 million until 2020 for Castillo’s services. It’s only been a few games, and the man needs time to adjust to big-league pitching, but the Red Sox will expect an immediate return on their investment, if they sit or trade Victorino for playing Castillo. The time is now for Castillo to show why there was so much hype for him, before the season started.