Pitching likely the key in Rangers/Red Sox series


David Ortiz

With home runs from David Ortiz and Jose Iglesias, the Red Sox rode the strong but abbreviated start of Clay Buchholz Sunday night to a rain-shortened 3-0 victory over A.L. rivals New York.
The win gave Boston its first series victory in the young month of June and marked the Red Sox second series win over the Yankees this season.  Boston’s victory pushed the Yankees into a third place tie in the A.L. East, locked with Tampa Bay at 3 games out while Baltimore jumped into second place, trailing the Red Sox by two-and-a-half games.
Boston returns home to Fenway Tuesday to begin a three game set against the Texas Rangers, in a series where runs may be in short supply.
Pitching match-ups and respective earned run averages could go a long way in dictating the outcome of this series.  On Tuesday, the Rangers send righthander Justin Grimm to the hill with a 5-3 record and 3.93 era to face Ryan Dempster, looking to improve on his 2-6 record to date, and looking to lower his current era of 4.45.
Wednesday’s match up pits Alexi Oganda at 4-2 with an era of 3.08 against John Lackey at 3-5.  Lackey’s record does not reflect his last four quality starts which have helped to lower his personal season era to 2.96.
The series concludes Thursday with Derek Holland starting for the Rangers, armed with a 5-2 record and an era of 2.81 while the Sox counter with staff ace John Lester, looking for his seventh win of the season against two losses and armed with an era of 3.53.
Centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is expected back in the lineup Tuesday after missing the recent New York series with a groin strain.  His presence in the lineup will be interesting to see how manager John Farrell pencils in his remaining outfielders.  Shane Victorino is slow to rebound from back and hamstring issues.  Jackie Bradley may well be in the lineup in left field with Daniel Nava in right and Jonny Gomes available to pinch hit.
Look for Jose Iglesias and his hot bat to get another start at third.  Injured regular Will Middlebrooks is expected to be activated by Saturday, June 8th.  His return will likely force a significant roster change for the Red Sox who will be flux with infielders and could mean the demotion of Iglesias back to triple A and/or the demotion or designation of utility infielder Pedro Ciriaco.
Boston’s win over New York in a game halted twice by rain delays improved the Red Sox record against A.L. East foes to 15-9.
Boston will have its hands full with the visiting Rangers, who ride into Fenway with a 17-13 road record and boast a 5-1 mark against A.L. East opponents.  The Red Sox sit at 17-12 on the year at home and currently own a 6-4 mark against A.L. West competition.


Categories: A-AMERICAN LEAGUE, American League Happenings

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