Boston Red Sox (68-53) @ Detroit Tigers (64-58)
Drew Pomeranz (1-2, 4.59 ERA) @ Daniel Norris (1-1, 3.47)
After a disappointing loss to start the very important series between the Detroit Tigers, the Sox bounced back big last night. The Sox got solid starting pitching by Rick Porcello, who notched his 17th victory of the season.
Drew Pomeranz will take the mound, hopefully building momentum from his last start against the Cleveland Indians. Pomeranz earned his first victory in a Red Sox uniform in that outing, going 7 ⅔ while allowing just two runs. It should be noted that Bryan Holaday caught Pomeranz in that matchup, and Holaday does indeed get the start tonight.
Another lefty in Daniel Norris will oppose Pomeranz here for the Tigers. Norris, who was traded to Detroit last year in the David Price trade, boasts a 3.63 ERA in five starts this season.
Norris will see a heavy dose of righties, as the Sox will only deploy three in their lineup tonight. David Ortiz, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Andrew Benintendi are the three lefties going up against Norris, who is allowing a .397 wOBA to lefties on the year.
Boston Red Sox
1. Dustin Pedroia-R 2B
2. Xander Bogaerts-R SS
3. David Ortiz-L DH
4. Mookie Betts-R RF
5. Hanley Ramirez-R 1B
6. Jackie Bradley Jr.-L CF
7. Aaron Hill-R 3B
8. Andrew Benintendi-L LF
9.Bryan Holaday-R C
1. Ian Kinsler-R 2B
2. Erick Aybar-S SS
3. Miguel Cabrera-R 1B
4. Victor Martinez-S DH
5. J.D. Martinez-R RF
6. Justin Upton-R LF
7. Casey McGehee-R 3B
8. James McCann-R C
9. Andrew Romine-S CF
With the lefty on the hill, Travis Shaw will sit in favor of Aaron HIll.
Benintendi will bat eighth and clearly is the Red Sox everyday left fielder, regardless of the handedness of the starting pitcher. This is also the first game in the American League that Benintendi will bat higher than ninth in the order.
Sandy Leon will start the night on the bench. He’s clearly shown he can handle the bat in his short time up with the big squad, but it looks like John Farrell is trying to recreate Pomeranz’ performance from last time out.
As for the Tigers, Pomeranz will have a big task ahead of him, facing all righties or switch hitters to begin the night. Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and J.D. Martinez can still mash the ball.
Sometimes it’s difficult to rise up in the standings when you have to rely on the performances of other teams. Although the Sox still sit a half game back of the Blue Jays coming into this game, they can really put some distance between them and the Tigers, who sit just 3.5 games back in the American League Wild Card.
If the Sox win tonight and tomorrow, they will be a whopping 5.5 games in front (and still in front of the Mariners and Orioles). However, if the Sox can’t get the job done, it might be a sticky situation for them, as the regular season is only a month and a half away from ending.
It was reported that free agent Jonathan Papelbon was going to decide his fate yesterday. As of today, there are still no word about where the former Red Sox closer will land. Many in Boston hope he comes here, but he could also go to the Cubs and reunite with Jon Lester and Theo Epstein.
Papelbon’s decision will come soon. It also should be noted, that you shouldn’t necessarily discount a team like the St. Louis Cardinals, who would give him a little more opportunity to close games.
Red Sox Daily Links:
Get Papelbon here...Bullpen needs help (MassLive)
Eduardo Rodriguez will start tomorrow despite leaving last start with an injury (CBS Sports)
Tyler Naquin with walk-off inside-the-park home run (MLB.com)
Carlos Gomez signs with Rangers (CBS Sports)