Red Sox to face first big test of the season in west coast trip

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora looks towards the field during a game between the Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora looks towards the field during a game between the Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays. / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Going into a three-game, Mother's Day weekend set with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Boston Red Sox were on a roll to say the least. They were sitting pretty in third place, and feeling good after having two off-days in a matter of four days - somewhat of a rarity in baseball (outside of rainouts, of course).

Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen had just joined the exclusive 400 saves club the game before, and the lineup was clicking on all cylinders. To add to that, the team with the worst record in the National League in the Cardinals was coming to town, what could go wrong? Apparently, a lot.

Instead of the Red Sox riding their hot streak into the weekend, and mowing down the Cardinals, they were swept in the three-game set by scores of 8-6, 4-3, and 9-1, in their respective order. The first two were by virtue of a blown save by Jansen, and the latter was just a poor showing on both ends of the ball for the home squad.

Red Sox facing biggest test of the season

Now they face their biggest test in a three-game set with the Seattle Mariners, followed immediately by a west coast road trip that features three games at Petco Park where they see old friend Xander Bogaerts and the San Diego Padres.

Immediately following that series, Boston heads up the coast to Angel Stadium where they face-off with longtime nemesis Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels for another three-game set where they look to continue their hot run against the Angels going.

Finally, the Red Sox close the road trip with a three-game stint in Phoenix where they faceoff with former divisional foe in ex-Blue Jays outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. The trip to Arizona is the first for Boston since 2019, their second since 2007, and only their third in franchise history.

Going into any stretch when the Red Sox are away from home for over two weeks, it's tough to look at the schedule and speculate anything, but with how up-and-down this team has been this season, it's especially tough to speculate.

Their matchup with the Padres should be an intriguing one, as San Diego sits in a similar position as Boston. The Friars have been able to beat up on the lower-end teams like the Kansas City Royals, and even take two-of-three from the Cincinnati Reds, but have struggled when playing teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers or Atlanta Braves.

Look for Justin Turner to return to form, as he has hit very well against the Padres - dating back to both his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the New York Mets. He has 15 multi-hit games, and over 20 with at least one hit. Watch for both teams to rely heavily on their offenses to keep them in the game, as pitching has been shaky for both squads. Don't be surprised if game three of the series is the rubber match.

In their second set of the road trip, it will be a rematch of Patriots' Day weekend for Boston. The Angels look to get back to their winning ways against the Red Sox, but with Boston coming in looking like a different team since then - in more ways than one - it could prove to be tougher than one originally thought.

Both teams have potent offenses, and will look to exploit the other's starting pitching, and get to the bullpen earlier rather than later. For the second series in a row, look for the series be tied at one game apiece.

Concluding the road trip, the Red Sox will take on the Diamondbacks inside the monstrosity that is Chase Field, where they were able to muster just one win last time they were there in 2019.

All time vs. Arizona, Boston has lost just eight games out of a possible 21 games played. Look for this series to be decided early with the winner of game one, also taking the second game. In fact, there is an outside chance they sweep the series. This will be a return to another former National League West foe's ballpark for Turner, not to mention one he has also hit well in.

Boston is up against it with two games to go vs. the Mariners until a giant road trip with some formidable opponents. Let the intrigue... Begin!

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