The Boston Red Sox (44-52) continue their series with the Kansas City Royals (48-47). Boston won the first game of the series last night, so if you're looking for a silver lining to the season – the Red Sox are tied for the best record in baseball since the All-Star break!
A pair of two-run home runs in the 6th innings put the Red Sox ahead for good. Xander Bogaerts hit one out to center field for his first homer since June 13. Perhaps the break did the young infielder some good, so this could boost him toward a strong second half. Soon after, Jonny Gomes hit a pinch-hit blast to nearly the same spot in center to give the Sox their winning runs. That gives Gomes 6 pinch-hit home runs in a Red Sox uniform – one shy of the franchise record set by Ted Williams.
- Rubby De La Rosa (2-2, 2.89 ERA) takes the mound for Boston. He picked up a no-decision his last time out in a 5 inning effort that was his shortest outing of the season. He surrendered 3 runs, including a pair of homers.
- Jonny Gomes is in the lineup tonight. It's not just a reward for being the hero last night – there's a lefty on the mound for the Royals. Gomes is crushing left-handed pitching, with an .873 OPS this season. If Gomes only ever faced lefties, he'd have the 12th best OPS in the AL.
- Christian Vazquez is back behind the plate tonight. The Red Sox are still undefeated in every game he's started and 5-1 overall since his call up. If this team goes on a tear and works their way back into the playoff race, we may look back on his arrival as the biggest turning point of the season.
- Shane Victorino has been activated from the disabled list and is in the lineup tonight. He hasn't played since May 23 due to a nagging hamstring injury and several setbacks that stalled his rehab. Mookie Betts has been optioned back to Pawtucket to make room on the roster.
- Danny Duffy (5-9, 2.76 ERA) gets the start for Kansas City. The young lefty started the season in the bullpen and has 7 quality starts since joining the rotation in early May. The ERA is impressive, but his 3.80 FIP suggests he's been a bit fortunate and projects as more of a middle of the rotation starter.
- Alex Gordon is 5th in the AL in WAR this season. While his offensive numbers are relatively modest, the former Gold Glove winner leads all AL left fielders in DWAR (1.7) and Range Factor (2.39). Gordon's all-around play is what earned him a spot on this year's All-Star team.
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Tags: Baseball, Boston, Boston Red Sox, Christian Vazquez, Jonny Gomes, MLB, Rubby De La Rosa, Shane Victorino