Game 39: Red Sox at Royals - Let's try this again

Rick Porcello looks to pick up his seventh win in eight tries in 2016.
(Photo courtesy Getty Images)
Ben Whitehead
Contributing writer

Monday's series opener between the Red Sox and Royals was washed out in Kansas City. The two squads will be in action tonight before playing a day-night double-header Wednesday. With that in mind, not much has changed. The pitching matchup remains the same, so we'll stick with the same notes as outlined in Monday's pregame post in case you missed it.

Boston (24-14) sends Rick Porcello to the mound to open the series with the defending world champions. Porcello remained his consistent self in his last outing, picking up win No. 6 against Oakland. He went 6.2 innings and allowed three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Porcello has allowed exactly three runs in four of his seven starts, and only once has allowed more than that (four in his season debut).

Kansas City (18-19) will start Yordano Ventura, who is 3-2 with a 4.62 ERA this season. Ventura lost two straight games, going four innings and giving up five runs in each before earning the win against the Yankees in his most recent outing. In New York, Ventura allowed three runs on six hits in six innings, walking three and striking out just one. Tonight will be his first home start since April 24. In that game, he beat the Orioles with his best outing, lasting seven innings with one run on three hits and four strikeouts. Recently, his command has escaped him and that will be a key tonight against Boston's bats. In Ventura's last three outings, he walked 14 and struck out just five. For the season, he has 28 walks to 26 strikeouts.

Here is the Red Sox lineup (first pitch 8:15 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. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
8. Christian Vazquez, C
9. Brock Holt, LF

P Rick Porcell (6-1, 3.11 ERA)

RSL Notes

Opposite directions since April 24

The hitting streak has reached 21 games. How far it will go is remains to be seen, but what Bradley has done over the past 21 games is nothing short of remarkable. Bradley is 33-for-82 (.402 average) with six doubles, three triples, six home runs and 26 RBI. He was named the AL Player of the Week for his .469 average, two doubles, three homers and 15 RBI last week.
Meanwhile, Kansas City was sitting pretty at 12-6, just a half-game back in the standings on April 24 after taking two of three from Baltimore. Since then, the Royals are 6-13 and won their first series since, beating the MLB-worst Braves two games to one.

Royals feeling blue
No question about it, the Royals are struggling offensively. A few stats for comparison:
  • Boston has five starters batting .319 or better. KC has one player hitting over .300 (Eric Hosmer .336). Paulo Orlando, a recent regular for the Royals is batting .298 and Lorenzo Cain is hitting just .274.
  • Every Red Sox starter has 19 RBI or more, led by David Ortiz with 33. Salvador Perez is the only Royals starter in the same category and he has 20 RBI.
  • Boston has out-homered its opponents 45-35. Kansas City has been out-homered 38-33.
  • Boston has three players with 13+ doubles and two more with nine doubles. Perez leads Kansas City with nine doubles.

Standings update
Thanks to a come-from-behind win by the Sox and a loss by the Orioles Sunday, Boston and Baltimore are back to being tied for the AL East lead. The Orioles are 23-13 while the Red Sox are 24-14. Toronto is third, but under .500 at 19-21 and six games back.

In the Central, the Royals are third behind the White Sox and Indians. Chicago is running away with the division at 24-14 right now, while Cleveland is 4.5 games back at 18-17.