Game 7: Rangers at Red Sox - Boston looking to swing momentum with Texas in town
Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell made it clear after his squad was swept by the Brewers: There are no excuses for how the team in playing. Yes, the lineup has been riddled by injuries. No, that doesn't mean a 2-4 start is acceptable. In different terms than how Farrell put it, though, it is what it is.
No better time than the present to change course and get on a winning streak. Of course, most of the players know a winning streak in April isn't quite as important as playing your best in October. Nonetheless, John Lackey will go against familiar foe Texas in hopes of starting a winning streak, as the Rangers visit Fenway Park for the only time this season. Lackey will make his 39th start against the Rangers - a team he pitched against often while he was with the division rival Angels. Lackey's career record against Texas is below par. He's compiled a 12-15 tally with a 6.01 ERA, the third-highest among qualifying pitchers with 20 or more starts against Texas. It's also Lackey's highest ERA against any AL team.
Lackey will try to build on his last start, when he went six strong innings against Baltimore in earning a win in his first start of the season. Unlike 2013, Lackey got the run support he didn't receive previously. Seeing as Boston was broomed away by Milwaukee with just eight runs in the three-game series.
Here's the lineup that will attempt to change that (first pitch - 7:10 pm ET):
1) Nava, LF
2) Pedroia, 2B
3) Ortiz, DH
4) Napoli, 1B
5) Sizemore, CF
6) Bogaerts, SS
7) Pierzynski, C
8) Herrera, 3B
9) Bradley Jr., RF
Tanner Scheppers (0-0, 15.75 ERA) will be the Rangers' starting pitcher. He was hit hard on Opening Day by the Phillies to the tune of seven runs in four innings. The Phillies won a 14-10 slugfest in Arlington, Texas.
Papi is bigger against Texas
David Ortiz has hit 29 home runs and driven in 95 runs in 112 career games against the Rangers. There are certain teams that bring out the best in Big Papi and Texas is one of them.
Dating back to the end of last season, Dustin Pedroia has hit safely in eight straight games. He had a string of four straight multi-hit games and has followed that up with four straight games of one hit apiece. During the streak, Pedroia is 16-for-37 (.432 AVG).
X marks the spot
Xander Bogaerts has hit safely in five of the Sox six games this season. He leads the team in batting average (.381) and OBP (.480). Bogaerts has yet to drive in a run, though, he has scored four times himself.
This and that
Boston took 2-of-3 from the Rangers at Fenway in 2013 ... Jackie Bradley Jr.'s first Major League home run came during the lone homestand against the Rangers on June 4, 2013 ... The Red Sox had not lost an Interleague series in their last 12 tries (9-0-3 series record), before being swept by Milwaukee ... The sweep was also the first since September 7-9, 2012, when Farrell's Blue Jays swept Bobby Valentine's Red Sox (Note here that Boston was not swept at home in 2013).
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