Red Sox battle in the Bay
The Boston Red Sox head west to take on the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Stadium.
The Boston Red Sox (33-24) travel across the country to the San Francisco Bay area to take on a Giants (35-24) team looking to increase their lead in the NL West.
Boston’s stay in the Bay will be brief, as this will be a rare two-game series sandwiched between off days on Monday and Thursday. It’s unusual for a team to have a pair of days off in the same week, but in this case it works in favor of the Red Sox. The breaks in the schedule allow them to avoid using a fifth starter until June 18, giving the team additional time to evaluate their options for filling that role.
The Red Sox are coming off of a series that saw them drop two out of three to the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. They have lost four of their last five games dating back to the four-game series they split in Baltimore last week.
Now would be an opportune time for the Red Sox to get back on track with a difficult schedule this month. 15 of the next 18 games are against teams with winning records, including three division leaders.
Tuesday, June 7 @10:15 PM: Rick Porcello (7-2, 4.00 ERA) vs Albert Suarez (1-1, 3.18 ERA)
Wednesday, June 8 @10:15 PM: David Price (7-2, 4.88 ERA) vs Madison Bumgarner (7-2, 1.91 ERA)
- David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia enter the series riding the longest active hit streaks in the majors, with both having hit safely in 13 straight games. Oritz is 22-for-50 (.440) during his streak, while Pedroia is 21-for-54 (.389).
- The Red Sox have been no stranger to long hitting streaks this season. Jackie Bradley (29 games) and Xander Bogaerts (26 games) recently saw streaks come to an end that still stand as the longest in the majors this season.
- Chris Young seems to be heating up at just the right time, as he appears to be the primary left fielder for the Red Sox while Blake Swihart is sidelined by a severely sprained ankle and Brock Holt continues to make his way back from a concussion. Young has boosted his average to .295 for the season and is hitting a blistering .414 against left-handed pitching.
- 2016 is an even year, so watch out for the Giants as World Series contenders. San Francisco has won it all in 2014, 2012 and 2010. Too bad Pablo Sandoval‘s season-ending injury prevents him from making the trip. Perhaps nostalgic Giants fans would have petitioned for the return of the former World Series MVP so that the Red Sox could leave him behind.
- Bumgarner wants to participate in the Home Run Derby during this year’s All-Star festivities, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy is hesitant to give permission to his ace pitcher. Bumgarner has 13 career home runs in 399 at-bats and has been known to put on a show in batting practice. Having a pitcher participate would certainly draw some added interest to the derby, yet you can understand his manager’s reluctance to give his blessing. Bumgarner is almost certain to pitch in the All-Star game the following night – possibly as the starter – so Bochy is merely being cautious of his ace getting worn down in a slug fest, inviting the possibility of injury. While there is some risk, Bochy should ultimately let Bumgarner participate if he’s invited.
Red Sox: David Oritz
The 40-year old slugger is third in the AL in batting average (.340) and home runs (16), while leading the league in RBI (54), OPS (1.156), doubles (26) and extra-base hits (43). The only question is whether or not he’ll play in both games of this series given that the Red Sox will lose the benefit of the DH in a National League ballpark. Expect Big Papi to be in the lineup as the first baseman for at least one of these games, while he may wind up starting both considering it’s a short series with an off day on each side.
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Giants: Buster Posey
Posey is having the worst season of his career at the plate so far, but remains arguably the game’s best all-around catcher. He also leads the Giants with 8 home runs and is fourth on the team with 26 RBI. His presence in the middle of the lineup is even more vital now that the team’s RBI leader, Hunter Pence, is sidelined for the next eight weeks with a torn hamstring.