This weekend is one of my favorite as a Red Sox fan, culminating in Patriots Day. Hopefully this year, the Patriots Day series can inspire the Red Sox to turn their season around.
PITCHING MATCHUPS/SCHEDULE (TV)
4/12 Eduardo Rodriguez vs. David Hess (R) 7:10pm NESN
4/13 Rick Porcello vs. Andrew Cashner (R) 1:05pm NESN
4/14 David Price vs. John Means (L) 1:05pm NESN
4/15 Chris Sale vs. Dan Straily (R) 11:05am NESN
In what is becoming the weekly Chris Sale report, we enter another stage of this saga. Sale’s average fastball velocity was back at 92 mph, after being 89.9 in the previous start in Oakland. The results against Toronto still were not what we want to see, and the fastball still sits a couple of mph below his career average. Let’s see what Monday brings.
The Orioles enter this series after losing their last series 1-3 to the Athletics. Offensively they struggled in the last three games, averaging just 3.33 runs per game. Overall this season the Orioles rank 22nd in OBP, 21st in home runs and 21st in slugging percentage this season.
The Red Sox offense is continuing to heat up over the last few games. Now they face up against an Orioles pitching staff which ranks 29th in ERA, WHIP and batting average against.
None of the pitchers scheduled to start for the Orioles have much history against the Red Sox. The Oriole with the most appearances against the Red Sox is first baseman Chris Davis. In 595 PA against the Red Sox, he owns a .220 batting average, .299 OBP, .393 slugging percentage and 23 home runs.
Mitch Moreland went deep again in the first game of the Blue Jays series. Entering the second game of that series, he leads the Red Sox with four home runs on the season. With another three right-handed pitchers on the slate, he could play a big part once again in this series.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
The Bullpen: With a three run lead in the ninth on Tuesday Matt Barnes got the save opportunity, but after giving up a run the save was completed by Colten Brewer. It will be interesting to see who sees the next save opportunity. The smart money is likely on Ryan Brasier, but it is interesting that he did not get a shot on Tuesday.
Starting Pitching: There are still a lot of questions around this rotation, with all five starters having an ERA over five right now. After six games against the relatively slow starting Blue Jays and Orioles it would be good to see the rotation show some promising signs. Hector Velazquez was interesting in his spot start and could have a shot at the rotation if these struggles continue.
If the Red Sox can finish of the Blue Jays series with a win and then sweep the Orioles they could be close to .500. After starting 3-8 on the road, they need to at least win four these six games. They have already lost one, meaning they can only really afford one more loss in this home stand.
If they head into New York next Tuesday much worse than 7-10, then questions are really going to start to be raised. We are by no means too far into the season for this to turnaround. However, losing series to the Orioles and Blue Jays would be pretty concerning for a team with World Series ambitions.