The Boston Red Sox (38-47) take on the Baltimore Orioles (46-39) in Game 1 of a doubleheader Saturday. Yesterday's game was postponed as the hurricane that ripped through the Carolinas this week headed north and brought heavy rain to the Boston area.
The rain may have washed away some Fourth of July plans, but hopefully it helped wash away the stench of the Red Sox last series that saw them get swept by the Chicago Cubs. With Thursday's scheduled off day, the team has now had two days off to recover and prepare themselves to get back on track.
The Red Sox have fallen 8 games back in the AL East and have the worst run differential (-43) in the division. Only Texas and Houston are worse in the AL. Meanwhile, Baltimore has moved a half game ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays for the division lead and are on a four game winning streak.
- Jon Lester (9-7, 2.92 ERA) will start Game 1 of the doubleheader. He won his last start against Masahiro Tanaka in Yankees Stadium by going 8 strong innings and giving up only an unearned run. Lester has been dealing lately, with a 1.98 ERA in June, pushing himself into the conversation of potential starters that could be selected for this year's All-Star game.
- The Red Sox rank 6th in the AL in OBP (.321) but are at or near the bottom of the league in just about every other offensive category. Getting on base hasn't been the problem, but timely hitting has been. Boston is hitting .230 with runners in scoring position and have a pathetic .368 Slugging Percentage that puts them last in the league.
- Closer Koji Uehara is 5th in the AL with 18 Saves and has only blown one opportunity this season. His 1.40 ERA and 0.75 WHIP are both second best in the league for any full-time closer.
- David Ortiz will get Game 1 off this afternoon, with A.J. Pierzynski filling in at DH. Ortiz traveled back the Dominican to attend his daughter's graduation, but is expected to return in time for tonight's Game 2.
- Mookie Betts is also out of the lineup this afternoon, but is expected to be back in one of the outfield spots tonight.
- Miguel Gonzalez (4-5, 4.56 ERA) will be on the mound for Baltimore. The young righty hasn't lasted more than 5 innings in any of his last three starts and gave up at least 3 runs in each of them. Opponents have an .862 OPS against Gonzalez this season, which is worse than any qualified starter in the AL besides Minnesota's Ricky Nolasco.
- The starters for this year's All-Star game won't officially be announced until Sunday night, but at last count Baltimore's Nelson Cruz had a sizeable lead over David Ortiz in the vote for the DH spot. Cruz is tied for the major league lead with 26 home runs and second in RBI with 68.