The Boston Red Sox (38-46) look to avoid getting swept at home by the Chicago Cubs (36-46). The Red Sox have been stymied by Cubs pitching so far in this series, scoring a total of only 2 runs through the first two games.
Chicago won a tight game last night by scoring on a sac fly in the 9th inning. Koji Uehara entered the inning in a non-save situation and immediately gave up back-to-back hits by Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro that put runners on second and third with nobody out. Uehara managed to escape allowing only the one run, but that proved to be enough for the Cubs.
With 2 straight losses, Boston has fallen to below .500 at home (20-21) this season and slipped to 8 games behind the division leading Toronto Blue Jays (who already won this afternoon). To make matters worse, they are only 2 games ahead of the surging Tampa Bay Rays, who have won 4 in a row and are threatening to knock the Red Sox back into last place. The Rays also have a slightly better run differential (-35) and have scored more runs than the Red Sox this season – which means Boston is now last in the AL in runs scored.
After winning the World Series and leading the majors in runs scored last year, the Red Sox are in danger of heading into the All-Star break this month last in the league in scoring and at the bottom of the AL East. That's quite a fall from grace.
- Brandon Workman (1-1, 3.27 ERA) gets his first career start against a National League team. He's faced NL teams out of the bullpen before, including in last year's World Series, but never as a starter. He's coming off his worst outing of the season last week, when he surrendered 4 runs to the Yankees and suffered his first loss.
- The Red Sox have limited opponents to 3 runs or less in each of their last 14 home games, the longest such streak in franchise history (per Elias).
- Unfortunately, the Sox have also failed to score more than 2 runs in each of their last 7 home games. If they fail to score more than 2 runs tonight, they'll tie a franchise record for 8 straight games scoring 2 runs or less that was set in 1932!
- Dustin Pedroia went 3-for-5 with an RBI last night to record his third 3-hit performance in his last 4 games. He's hitting 9-for-15 (.600) over that stretch. Last night was his team-high 24th multi-hit game this season, raising his season average to .277.
- Stephen Drew and Jackie Bradley will both take a seat with a lefty on the mound. Jonathan Herrera will start at SS and bat 9th, while Mookie Betts will get another look in CF, batting 8th. Jonny Gomes will start in LF, batting 5th. Gomes is hitting .310/.417/.452 in 84 at-bats against left-handed pitching this year.
- Travis Wood (7-6, 4.52 ERA) gets the start for Chicago. He didn't give up more than 3 runs in any start last month and has 9 Quality Starts this season.
- The Cubs are 28th in the majors in runs scored (307) – even worse than the Red Sox! They also have a lower team average (.231), OBP (.292) and OPS (.660). Then again, they play in the NL, so those numbers incorporate the fact that they generally have pitchers hitting at the bottom of their lineup.