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Series Preview: Boston (August 9-12)

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Now that the Indians have gotten the losing streak out of the way, they have four more home games before going on a difficult West Coast road trip.

Team in a Box (click to enlarge)

Boston_august_9-12_medium

The Red Sox are like usual one of the better offensive clubs in the AL (even with a boatload of position player injuries), but their starting rotation has really held them back. Josh Beckett has garnered most of the headlines with his antics, but Jon Lester has had an awful year, and he's been consistently been one of the best starters in baseball.

Typical Lineup

Pos. Player BA OBP SLG PA
CF Jacoby Ellsbury .264 .316 .414 132
LF Carl Crawford .289 .321 .500 81
2B Dustin Pedroia .268 .325 .408 416
1B Adrian Gonzalez .307 .351 .457 465
DH Cody Ross .271 .337 .517 324
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia .231 .288 .486 316
3B Will Middlebrooks .292 .322 .510 273
RF Ryan Kalish .203 .247 .241 85
SS Mike Aviles .256 .283 .400 420

Even though Boston offense is among the more productive teams in the league, several of their stars aren't having the season they're capable of having. Gonzalez has had a power outage, slugging only .457 despite playing half his games in Fenway Park. He's still a very good hitter, but his power numbers are well off his career norms. Dustin Pedroia has been dogged by injuries; he tried to play through a thumb injury, but had to go in the DL after his production suffered greatly.

Both Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford have been on the shelf most of the season, but they're both healthy now. Crawford has looked like the Tampa Bay version since returning from the DL, which Boston's going to need him to be, since they're paying him roughly $20M/year through 2017.

Will Middlebrooks, whose hot bat in part led to Kevin Youkilis being dumped, has cooled off a bit of late (.279/.295/453 over the last 28 days).

Probable Starters

Date Pitcher ERA Innings SO/9 BB/9 H/9
Aug 9 Felix Doubront (L)
4.56 118.1 8.7 3.8 9.2
Aug 10 Clay Buccholz 4.48 122.2 5.9 3.1 9.1
Aug 11 Aaron Cook 4.70 51.2 1.0 1.2 9.8
Aug 12 Jon Lester (L)
5.36 141.0 7.5 2.7 9.9

Though Cook and Lester haven't been announced as Boston's starters for the last two games of the series, I believe that's the way the rotation works out. The starting staff has been Boston's biggest problem this season, with Doubront and Buccholz,, their two best starters, posting an ERA+ below 100, though Buccholz has pitched much better of late. Doubront shut the Indians down earlier in the season (6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER).

Key Relievers

Throws Pitcher ERA Innings SO/9 BB/9 H/9
Right Alfredo Aceves 4.29 56.2 7.9 3.2 7.6
Left Franklin Morales 3.14 63.0 9.1 3.0 7.1
Right Matt Albers 2.29 39.1 5.7 3.4 6.9

Both Scott Atchison and Vicente Padilla are hurt, so the Red Sox have had to juggle their bullpen quite a bit in the last couple weeks. Morales has been a valuable swing man, both starting and relieving, including a nice start last Sunday against the Twins. He may be starting for the Red Sox on Saturday or Sunday.

On the Shelf

  • RHP Scott Atchison (right elbow) - 15-day DL
  • RHP Andrew Bailey (right thumb) - 60-day DL
  • LHP Rich Hill (left elbow) - 60-day DL
  • RHP John Lackey (Tommy John surgery) - out for season
  • RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (right trapezus strain) - 15-day DL
  • OF Daniel Nava (left wrist) - 15-day DL
  • DH David Ortiz (15-day DL) - right achilles
  • RHP Vicente Padilla (right bicep) - 15-day DL
  • OF Ryan Sweeney (left hand) - 15-day DL

Early in the season the Red Sox had a rash of injuries to outfielders, but now pitchers make up the bulk of the injured list. Andrew Bailey, who was acquired from Oakland in the off-season, hasn't thrown a pitch this season, and neither has John Lackey. David Ortiz may be activated during this series, as he's been able to take batting practice lately.

talonk's Almanac

All-Time Record 1022-961 (.515)
Runs Scored/Allowed 9248 8985
Pythagorean Win % .513
Best Season 15-4 1919
Worst Season 4-16 1915

Record since 2001 38-50 (.432)
Runs Scored/Allowed 420 462
Pythagorean Win % .457
Best Season 2001 6-3
Worst Season 2009 2-7