Sitting in a good spot after the first month of the season, the Boston Red Sox hit the road to Chicago to take on the American League best White Sox. Boston (15-10) is coming off a sweep of the Yankees at home, while Chicago (18-8) returns to the Windy City after a road trip on which the White Sox swept Toronto and split a four-game series in Baltimore.
Going for the Red Sox today is Steven Wright. The knuckleballer is 2-2 with a 1.37 ERA through four starts this season. He's pitched at least six innings and hasn't allowed more than two runs in all his outings. He's coming off perhaps his best start of the year, having pitched seven innings and striking out a season-high eight batters against Atlanta.
Opposing Wright is Jose Quintana for Chicago, who statistically matches Wright. Quintana is 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA in five starts. He is also coming off perhaps his best outing where he went six innings and allowed four hits, no runs and struck out 10 against the Blue Jays. In his previous start, the left-hander went seven innings, allowing four hits, no runs and struck out four against Texas.
Here is the Red Sox lineup against Quintana (first pitch 8:10 pm EDT): 1. Mookie Betts, RF 2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B 3. Xander Bogaerts, SS 4. David Ortiz, DH 5. Hanley Ramirez, 1B 6. Travis Shaw, 3B 7. Chris Young, LF 8. Ryan Hanigan, C 9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF P Steven Wright (2-2, 1.37 ERA)
News reported Monday noted that Pablo Sandoval will need surgery to repair his left shoulder, which has been reported this afternoon to be a torn labrum. Dr. James Andrews gave Sandoval a second opinion after a saga to start the year. Sandoval was benched following Spring Training in favor of Travis Shaw at third base. He went 0-for-6 with one walk and three strikeouts in one start and two appearances off the bench. Then, he suddenly awoke one morning with shoulder pain, which has led us to this.
Return of Carson
Carson Smith has been activated today and will join the team in Chicago. He went on the disabled list with a strained right flexor muscle on March 25. Smith will bolster an already stout bullpen.
Vazquez heating up
When Christian Vazquez returned to the lineup, he made an immediate impact on the pitching staff. That was expected and has helped turn around a middling staff. Now, he's riding a six-game hitting streak, none more important than his last. On the first pitch he saw from Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, Vazquez smashed a long home run to give Boston the lead for good Sunday night. During the six games, he's increased his slash line from .176/.263/.235 to .225/.279/.375. With a deep lineup already, it's great to see another player coming around to fill in any gap there might be.