Red Sox vs. Rangers Series Preview: Potential Wild Card matchup
By Chris Embree
The Boston Red Sox (22-21) begin their 6 game home stand, beginning with a three-game series against the Texas Rangers (24-21).
After the Boston Red Sox won both games against the St. Louis Cardinals, they were supposed to have an easy series against the lowly Oakland A’s. They managed to lose three out of four games and have fallen 4.5 games out of first place in the division.
The Red Sox have been around .500 all year, especially in their last 10 games, going 5-5. The Texas Rangers on the other hand are coming into Fenway on a roll, having won 11 of their last 12 games.
The key to the Rangers’ success has been their pitching. In the last 12 games they have given up just 3.2 runs per game, while scoring 6 runs.
These teams very well may see each other in the Wild Card game in the playoffs.
Tuesday, May 23 at 7:10 PM – Rick Porcello (2-5, 4.23 ERA) vs Andrew Cashner (1-3, 2.45 ERA)
Wednesday, May 24 at 7:10 PM – Chris Sale (4-2, 2.19 ERA) vs Martin Perez (2-5, 3.71 ERA)
Thursday, May 25 at 7:10 PM – Drew Pomeranz (3-3, 4.97 ERA) vs Nick Martinez (1-2, 4.33 ERA)
- One of the big stories from last series was the exchange between Drew Pomeranz and John Farrell. Pomeranz only gave up one earned run in 4 innings, but had thrown 97 pitches. Farrell took Pomeranz out of the game and the two had words for each other. The real issue is not the argument they had, but rather the fact that Pomeranz is not able to go deep into games. Pomeranz has had 21 starts in a Red Sox uniform. He has gone more than 6 innings in just 2 of those starts.
- The bullpen was ice cold during the A’s series. In the four-game series, they allowed a combined 9 runs and were responsible for two of the three losses. The bullpen was very good during April, but has been suspect of late. Guys like Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, and Robbie Ross have all seen their ERA take an unhealthy spike.
- Chris Sale is another pitcher that has cooled off during the month of May. Obviously the start he had to the season was not sustainable. There has been some good and bad during May. Sale continues to strikeout batters at an insane rate, striking out 43 guys in 28 innings during May. He has also collected 3 wins in his 4 starts. However, Sale’s ERA for the month of May is 3.54. While that is obviously a good ERA, it is still more than double his April ERA of 1.19.
- Mike Napoli returns to Fenway Park. Napoli is well-known here for his part in the 2013 World Series. Napoli then went to Cleveland and had a fair amount of success. This season has been a struggle though. With a slash line of .188/.262/.416, he has also struck out 51 times in 42 games.
Boston Red Sox: Xander Bogaerts
2017 Season (39 Games): .320/.389/.433, 0 HR, 12 RBI
Career vs Texas Rangers (19 Games): .238/.329/.302, 1 HR, 4 RBI
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Bogaerts continues to be an enigma this season. He is hitting .320 on the year and has thrived hitting in the 3rd spot in the order. He hit well there last year too. However, Bogaerts still has not hit a home run yet in the 39 games he has played. The lack of power is starting to be a little alarming. After all, shouldn’t your No. 3 hitter have at least one home run?
You cannot teach power, but Bogaerts proved he can hit for power having hit 21 home runs. Hopefully he hits one against the Rangers.
Texas Rangers: Rougned Odor
2017 Season (45 Games): .199/.254/.347, 6 HR, 19 RBI
Career vs Red Sox (9 Games): .324/.314/.441, 1 HR, 6 RBI
Odor is another example of a high power bat that has not lived up to the potential this year. He hit 2 home runs on Opening Day, then has not looked good at all at the plate since. The Rangers rank in the bottom 3rd in the majors in terms of batting average, with a collective average of .237.
Part of the problem has been Odor’s lack of ability to bust out of his slump. It feels like he is too good to continue to hit like this, so when he finally breaks through, look out!
Check back with BoSox Injection prior to the start of every Red Sox series this season for our preview!