The Boston Red Sox (35-43) finish their series against the Seattle Mariners (42-36) looking to avoid a sweep. How many times have we said that lately? Boston is in danger of falling to 1-6 on their West Coast road trip and still have to make a weekend stop in New York before they can make it home.
The Mariners pounded Jake Peavy for 7 runs last night and the offense couldn't take advantage of numerous opportunities to keep up. Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez allowed 10 base runners (including 5 walks!) in 4.1 innings, yet the Red Sox managed only 2 run against him. He was particularly wild in the 1st inning, where he walked 3 batters, but A.J. Pierzynski bailed him out by swinging at the first pitch and grounding out to second base. For all you Little Leaguers out there learning how to play the game – if the pitcher can't find the strike zone with a map and a compass, it's probably not a good idea to swing at the first pitch.
The Blue Jays and Yankees have both equaled Boston's 4-6 record over their last 10 games, so at least the losses that have piled up on this road trip haven't cost them too much ground in the division. However, they still trail Toronto by 8.5 games, so if they don't win at least a couple of their remaining games on this trip, they could be looking at a double-digit deficit when the calendar flips to July.
- Clay Buchholz (2-4, 7.02 ERA) makes his return from the disabled list to make the start for Boston for the first time since May 26. The Red Sox are banking on his time away giving him the chance to get his mind right and fix any mechanical issues that led to his cringe worthy decline.
- The Red Sox have hit .227 as a team on the road this season, which ranks 29th in the majors. David Ortiz is one of the few that seems to excel away from Fenway Park. He's hitting .277/.372/.539 with 11 HRs on the road, compared to .228/.338/.404 with 6 HRs at home.
- The slumping Xander Boegarts was moved out of the two hole in the lineup yesterday and has slid down to the 7th spot. Daniel Nava will get a shot hitting second tonight. He's been one of the team's hottest hitters this month, but historically hasn't hit well against right-handed pitching (.225 average over the past 3 seasons).
- Hisashi Iwakuma (5-3, 3.04 ERA) starts for Seattle. The third year Japanese starter had been cruising along through the month of June before stumbling in his last outing at Kansas City, giving up 5 runs in 5 innings. He missed all of April due to injury, but if he had enough innings to qualify, he'd be 3rd in the majors with a 7.43 K/BB ratio. He's only walked 7 batters in 71 innings this season. Erasmo Ramirez walked almost as many last night!
- Kyle Seager may not be a house-hold name, especially for fans here on the East Coast, but he's quietly becoming one of the league's best third basemen. He's second among AL third basemen in WAR (2.7) and RBI (53).