The AL East is as stacked and tight as it gets. All five teams are within 1.5 games, with two teams tied for first place (New York and Baltimore). Boston is tied with Toronto and Tampa Bay. No one has broken away from the pack and no one has written this season off. It's going to be an exciting remainder of the year in the East and with 130 games to go, you don't know what to expect.
For the first time since 2005, the Cincinnati Reds (15-16) visit Fenway Park. Their hosts, the Boston Red Sox (15-17), have come close to breaking the .500 mark several times, but to no avail. With just two games on tap for this series, the Sox have a chance to get to .500 before taking to the road. Through 13 games at home in a 16-game stretch, the Red Sox are 6-7.
Felix Doubront is on the hill to start the Interleague Series. Doubront is 1-3 with a 5.70 ERA and hasn't won a game since April 3 (his first start). He's given up 11 runs (six earned) in his last two outings and is struggling to find some consistency - a trend that's been with him so far throughout his young career.
Here is the Red Sox lineup tonight (first pitch - 7:10 pm ET):
1) Pedroia, 2B
2) Victorino, RF
3) Ortiz, DH
4) Napoli, 1B
5) Sizemore, LF
6) Bogaerts, SS
7) Pierzynski, C
8) Middlebrooks, 3B
9) Bradley Jr., CF
On the mound for Cincinnati is Mr. No-No himself, Homer Bailey. The young righty has thrown two no-hitters in his career (2012 at Pittsburgh; 2013 vs. San Francisco). Bailey is 2-2 with a 5.50 ERA on the year. He pitched masterfully against the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers in his last start five days ago. Bailey struck out four and scattered eight hits and three runs over eight innings in the win. only two Red Sox players have more than two career at-bats against Bailey: Grady Sizemore (2-for-10) and Shane Victorino (4-for-11 with a HR).
JBJ best with RISP
Despite going 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position Sunday, Jackie Bradley Jr. is tops on the Red Sox with a .355 average with RISP. He has five doubles and 12 RBI. The Red Sox as a team are batting .222.
This and that
In one-run games this season, the Red Sox are 3-8 ... In the last meeting at Fenway in 2005, the Red Sox swept the Reds and outscored them 23-4 ... A.J. Pierzynski knocked his first career home run at Fenway during Sunday's 3-2 loss to Oakland ... The Reds have won 3-of-4, but had previously lost 4-of-5. Overall, they have been very streaky this season.
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