The Boston Red Sox (40-51) finish their four game series with the Chicago White Sox (44-48) Thursday afternoon. The Sox finally gave the Fenway faithful something to cheer about on this home stand with a walk-off win last night.
The Red Sox started 5 rookies in last night's lineup, which marks the earliest in the season that Boston has started that many rookies since 1952. Those rookies made an impact, as Jackie Bradley and Christian Vazquez both made fantastic defensive plays to save the Sox some runs. Then Mookie Betts ignited an 8th inning rally with a gutsy base running play. After beating the throw on a slow roller to the shortstop, Betts realized there was nobody covering second base, so he took off. It's not often that you see an infield double! Brock Holt capped it off with a walk-off base hit in the 9th to give the Red Sox their first win of the series.
It was the 7th walk-off win of the year for Boston, including 2 on this current home stand. In the last 24 games, 14 of them have been decided by 1 run, with Boston going 8-6 in those close games.
- Jon Lester (9-7, 2.73 ERA) gets his final start before making the trip to Minneapolis for the All-Star game. He hasn't given up an earned run in either of his last two starts, which both resulted in Red Sox wins against divisional opponents. Lester is making his 239th career start in a Red Sox uniform, passing Luis Tiant for 4th in franchise history.
- Mookie Betts has moved up in the lineup, batting 6th and playing RF. Xander Bogaerts is out of the lineup, allowing Brock Holt to slide over to 3B. David Ross will be behind the plate, with Lester on the mound, which means Christian Vazquez will be on the bench to start the game. Only 3 rookies in the lineup today, so nothing of historical significance to get excited about.
- David Ortiz (4th) and Dustin Pedroia (5th) both appear on the list of the most popular jerseys that have been sold since Opening Day. Derek Jeter is first on that list, which is no surprise given that it's his final season.
- Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.20 ERA) will be on the mound for Chicago, making him the third straight lefty starter that the White Sox have used this series. He's pitched great in his last 4 starts, going at least 7 innings in each of them and giving up no more than 2 runs.
- Jose Abreu hit his 28th HR last night to move back into a tie with Baltimore's Nelson Cruz for the major league lead. Abreu is crushing Red Sox pitchers this series, going 6 for 12 (.500), yet surprisingly that homer accounted for his only RBI and run scored in the series so far. Go figure, the one game that Abreu did some actual damage in was also the game started by Chris Sale… yet it ended up being the only game this series the Red Sox have won!