The Boston Red Sox (38-44) return home to take on the Chicago Cubs (34-46), who make their first visit back to Fenway since May 2011. Prior to that, the Cubs hadn't made the trip to play the Red Sox in Boston since they faced each other in the 1918 World Series.
With 82 games in the book, the Red Sox are now official past the mid-way point of the season. They have crawled back to within 6 games of the division leading Toronto Blue Jays, so despite being 6 games under .500 with a -33 run differential, their aspirations of getting back to the postseason haven't completely faded yet.
- Jake Peavy (1-6, 4.93 ERA) will get the start for Boston. He was pounded by Seattle for 7 runs in his last start, raising his ERA to the highest it has been all season. There have been rumblings throughout Boston that Peavy's spot in the rotation is on thin ice. Rubby De La Rosa was recently optioned back to to Pawtucket, but it's hard to make a case these days for Peavy deserving to be in the rotation ahead of him. If Peavy can't get the job done against the lowly Cubs, his days in Boston may be numbered.
- David Ross will be the catcher behind the plate tonight. He's caught only 5 of Peavy's first 16 starts this season, in which Peavy has recorded a 3.97 ERA.
- Dustin Pedroia is 6 for 6 with a walk and a sac fly in his last 8 plate appearances, raising his average back up to .275. That's still a long way off from what we are used to seeing from the career .300 hitter, but it's a start.
- Mookie Betts made his much anticipated debut last night against the Yankees. He went 1 for 3 with a walk and was caught stealing. Swiping bags against major league catchers won't be quite as easy as he made it look throughout his minor league career. He was 29 for 34 in steal attempts this year in the minors. He'll get his first shot at playing CF tonight with Jackie Bradley getting the night off.
- Jake Arrieta (4-1, 2.05 ERA) will be on the mound for Chicago. He has given up 2 runs or less in each of his 5 starts in June. On the other hand, he's pitched almost exclusively against National League lineups this year. His one start this season against an AL team was his worst outing of the year – a 4 inning effort where he surrendered 4 runs (3 earned). He's also 0-3 with a 5.90 ERA is 6 career games (5 starts) against Boston.
- Former Red Sox prospect Anthony Rizzo is having a career season, hitting .282/.394/.512 with a team high 17 HRs. The slugging first baseman was included in the deal with San Diego that brought Adrian Gonzalez to Boston in the winter of 2010 and was later shipped to Chicago after only 49 games as a Padre.
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