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Series #14: Athletics at Red Sox - A Hope to Rain Dominance

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Red Sox Current Record:

28-12, tied for the best record in all of baseball with the Yankees. They are 6-4 over their last ten games.

Possible Lineup:

RF - Mookie Betts

LF - Andrew Benintendi

1B - Hanley Ramirez

DH - JD Martinez

SS - Xander Bogaerts

3B - Rafael Devers

2B - Eduardo Nunez

CF - Jackie Bradley Jr

C - Christian Vazquez

Probable Starting Pitchers:

Rick Porcello

Eduardo Rodriguez

Chris Sale

Recent Bullpen Usage:

The Red Sox have been averaging about three relief pitchers per game recently, but most of the key arms in the bullpen are fully rested.

Hottest Hitter(s):

The Red Sox are tied with the Yankees in the standings as well as for the best team OPS in baseball at .783. Leading the Red Sox’ offense has been the three M’s, Mookie, Martinez, and Moreland, with Mookie Betts particularly hot with ten hits over the last week of play.

Coldest Hitter(s):

The Red Sox still aren’t getting any offensive production from catcher, as the position has been a weak point for a long time in their otherwise intimidating lineup. Each catcher has both an OBP and SLG below .230. This is a position that the Red Sox should really try and improve before the playoffs get started.

Hottest Pitcher(s):

The Red Sox’ pitching staff is second only to the Houston Astros in overall effectiveness, and the team collectively has 408 strikeouts in their first forty games. However, the starting rotation is currently boom and bust, with Chris Sale and Rick Porcello carrying the rest of the staff on their shoulders. Both starters have WHIPs below 1.00 and have limited hard contact.

Coldest Pitcher(s):

Drew Pomeranz has struggled with his control since coming back from the DL, and hasn’t looked like his recent self. David Price’s ERA is encroaching 5.00, but he was strong in his last starting effort. The Red Sox’ bullpen has also given up too many runs over the last week, culminating in two blown saves, one from Joe Kelly and one from Craig Kimbrel.

Key Injuries:

Dustin Pedroia continues to be hurt, and his replacement in Eduardo Nunez has been below-average at the plate. The offense isn’t hurting too bad though.

* * *

With rain forecast in Boston on Tuesday and Wednesday, the A’s will have to survive the elements in addition to Boston’s stacked lineup. Despite losing two of three games, the A’s played well against the New York Yankees and started their road trip of doom well. Things aren’t going to get any easier in Boston, but the team has already proven that they can go toe-to-toe with the Sox, handing them their first lost series of the year back in April. Given that the team is in Boston, this series will be more difficult to win, but if the team succeeds at Fenway it will bode well for their road trip finale in Toronto later this week.

The Red Sox are just returning from Toronto, having just taken two of three from the Blue Jays. Their two strongest starters are pitching in this series, which bodes well for them and their efforts to solely procure the best record in baseball. There is a likely chance that the potent A’s offense can get shut down during this series, given the arms they are going up against, but with the Green Monster in left and the short porch in right field, this is also the chance for the A’s power bats to shine.

Game #41: Monday, May 14th, 4:10 - NBCSCA, NESN,

Sean Manaea vs Rick Porcello

Manaea had one of the worst pitched games of his career the last time he played at Fenway Park. After two consecutive starts where he wasn’t quite able to match his performance from the first month of the season, this is the perfect setting for him to both redeem his performance from last year while also getting back on track on the mound this year. This is Manaea’ first start against the Red Sox since his no hitter.

Game #42: Tuesday, May 15th, 4:10 - NBCSCA, NESN,

Daniel Mengden vs Eduardo Rodriguez

Mengden has had wonderful control to start the year and isn’t letting himself get beat by issuing a bunch of walks, allowing just five in forty five innings. While his ‘stache and high-effort delivery get the most attention, Mengden has quietly put together a very nice season to date. Rodriguez is the weak link in the Red Sox’ rotation, and can be home run prone, so the A’s lineup will have a chance to shine.

Game #43: Wednesday, May 16th, 4:10 - NBCSCA, NESN,

Kendall Graveman vs Chris Sale

Though Graveman looked much better in his first start back with the A’s, the sinkerballer will have to work hard to keep the ball in the yard in order for the A’s to have any chance against Chris Sale. Graveman has given up nine home runs in just thirty four innings after surrendering just twelve in one hundred five innings last year.