Red Sox vs. Cardinals series preview: World Series foes meet again

May 5, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A general view of a bag in the Boston Red Sox before a game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A general view of a bag in the Boston Red Sox before a game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Red Sox (19-18) begin their 6 game road trip with a quick two-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals (21-15). These two teams have gotten familiar with each other in the postseason, famously playing each other in the 2004 and 2013 World Series.

It has been a tale of two seasons for these teams. The St. Louis Cardinals are on an 18-6 stretch and sit in 1st place in their division. The Boston Red Sox continue to fight to stay above .500.

Boston’s inability to consistently score runs has hampered them this year. They rank 15th in the majors in runs scored. This is pretty much the same lineup that finished last season ranked 1st. The only subtraction has been David Ortiz.

The Cardinals come into the series 3.5 games clear of the defending champion Chicago Cubs. The Cardinals have relied on their outstanding pitching staff, which has a collective 3.62 ERA, ranking them 4th in the majors.

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday, May 12 at 7:10 PM – Eduardo Rodriguez (1-1, 3.95 ERA) vs Lance Lynn (4-1, 2.75 ERA)

Wednesday, May 13 at 7:10 PM – Rick Porcello (2-4, 3.95 ERA) vs Mike Leake (4-2, 1.94 ERA)

Series Notes

  • Both starting Cardinals pitchers have had great bounce back years. Lance Lynn missed last year due to Tommy John surgery. His 2.75 ERA is 2nd on the team to Mike Leake. The Cardinals got criticized last year because Leake was their “big” free agent signing. He finished the year with an ERA of 4.69 and a WHIP of 1.319. His 1.94 ERA this year ranks him 4th in MLB. Needless to say, the Sox have a tough series ahead of them.
  • Cue the weekly

    Craig Kimbrel

    portion of the preview. Kimbrel has now officially become a weapon out of the bullpen. Last year he pretty much always had to come into a save situation in a clean inning. This year, he has been able to go 3, 4, 5, even 6 outs sometimes if the Sox need him to. He’s also been able to come into high-leverage situations (i.e. men in scoring position) and get out of it by striking guys out. His K/9 of 17.82 means that he is striking out pretty much 2 guys per inning.

    Kimbrel is on an insane stretch


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  • Mookie Betts won the AL Player of the Week for May 8th – May 14th. He hit .375 with a slugging percentage of .917, 3 HRs, 11 RBI, and scored 8 runs. He led the league in all 5 of these categories. Mookie has started to climb back to his old ways after a slow start. His numbers are up across the board in the month of May, and it’s only been 13 games.
  • Will Hanley Ramirez play first base against National League teams? According to manager John Farrell, he probably won’t in this series. He played one game at first against the Milwaukee Brewers and lasted only two at-bats before exiting with a right trap muscle spasm. He has been pretty consistent all year in voicing his displeasure with playing the field, so expect him to be limited to pinch-hit appearances in St. Louis.
  • Key Hitters

    Boston Red Sox: Mitch Moreland

    2017 Season (37 Games): .254/.318/.437, 2 HR, 16 RBI

    Career vs St. Louis Cardinals (6 Games): .125/.222/.375, 1 HR, 2 RBI

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    After a red-hot start to the season, “Mitchy Two Bags” has cooled off drastically. Over the last 15 days he has a slash line of just .214/.365/.286. He hasn’t hit any home runs, had just 5 RBI, and only 3 doubles. Needless to say, he has been in a slump since the calendar hit May.

    Boston needs him to produce similar to what he was at the beginning of the season. If the Sox want to solidify themselves over the .500 threshold, then Moreland needs to step up in the middle of the order and provide more depth to the offense.

    St. Louis Cardinals: Tommy Pham

    2017 Season (9 Games): .371/.463/.743, 3 HR, 8 RBI

    Career vs Red Sox (0 Games): .000/.000/.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI

    It’s a unique choice going with a relatively unknown outfielder, but Pham has been a sparkplug for the Cardinals since he’s been promoted. In the 9 games he has played, he has slashed .371/.463/.743, to go along with 3 home runs, 4 doubles, 8 RBI, and 8 runs scored. Pham has filled an important role in the absence of Stephen Piscotty and Dexter Fowler.

    Next: Grading trades, free agent signings of Dave Dombrowski

    Check back with BoSox Injection prior to the start of every Red Sox series this season for our preview!