The Boston Red Sox (38-45) meet the Chicago Cubs (35-46) in the second game of their three game series. The Cubs won the opening game of the series thanks to another punch-less effort from the Red Sox offense.
Here's the good news. Jake Peavy pitched pretty well (6 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs, 7 Ks). Maybe even well enough to save his spot in the rotation (or at least increase his trade value). Now for the bad news. Chicago starter Jake Arrieta held the Red Sox hitless into the 8th inning, before Stephen Drew's single broke up the no-hit bid.
There are a couple ways to look at this. First of all – Drew got a hit! That's exciting. You can also rationalize the lack of offense had more to do with how Arrieta was throwing, as he has been on quite a roll lately. Over his past 4 starts, Arrieta is 4-0 with a 0.94 ERA and has taken a no-hit bid into at least the 5th inning in 3 of those starts, per ESPN Stats & Information.
Still, the lack of offense is troubling, especially after the team showed signs of their bats waking up in New York on Sunday night. The loss also dropped Boston to 20-20 at home this season. Through all their struggles, they at least had been able to say they could win at home. Now that argument isn't holding much water.
- Clay Buchholz (3-4, 6.75 ERA) will be on the mound for Boston. He had a fairly encouraging return from the DL last week, despite giving up 4 runs. He looked a lot better than the pitcher we saw prior to when he was shut down and it's a great sign that he didn't walk a batter in the game. Plus, he got the win! Whether or not Buchholz can return to form over the second half of the season will go a long way in determining Boston's chances to climb back into the playoff race.
- The Red Sox bullpen doesn't get a whole lot of press, outside of closer Koji Uehara, but reliever Burke Badenhop is quietly having an impressive season with a 1.69 ERA. His previous experience prior to coming to Boston suggests he's been a good reliever, but not nearly this good (3.75 career ERA). Given that he has allowed more hits than innings pitched and has a career low 5.27 K/9, his success doesn't seem sustainable, but the Sox will continue to ride him in tight spots until his luck runs out.
- Mookie Betts will get his first shot at handling right field at Fenway tonight. It's known for being one of the most difficult right fields to play defensively due to it's odd angles in the corner, so keep an eye on how the rookie manages – especially if a ball is hit sharply down the line into that corner. His versatility is a huge asset, but the former second baseman needs to prove that he's capable of handling his new defensive assignments.
- Will Middlebrooks is scheduled to resume his rehab in Pawtucket tonight as the DH.
- Edwin Jackson (5-8, 5.22 ERA) will take the hill for Chicago. The veteran is having his worst season since he first became a full-time starter with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2007. He's 1-6 with a 6.70 ERA is 8 road starts this season, which bodes well for the Red Sox chances of stringing together a few hits tonight.
- Starlin Castro not only leads the Cubs in RBIs with 47, he's tied with the Rockies Troy Tulowitzki for the NL lead in RBI by a SS. Tulo is of course in his own stratosphere among shortstops, as he puts together an MVP caliber season, but Castro has settled into the next tier of the best hitting shortstops in the NL. He's hitting .283/.331/.467 with 11 HRs and 24 doubles.
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