Game 39: Red Sox at Royals - Porcello, Sox bats look to remain hot in KC
Rick Porcello aims for his seventh win of the season.
(Photo courtesy AP)
UPDATE: TONIGHT'S GAME HAS BEEN POSTPONED. Ben Whitehead Contributing writer A quick trip through BBQ country is on tap for the Red Sox. Boston hits Kansas City for a three-game series wedged between 13 games at home (seven before, six after). The Sox went 6-1 during the seven-game homestand, outscoring Oakland and Houston by a combined 73-37. Boston is 10-6 on the road; Kansas City is 11-6 at home.
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 7:05 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.
Since JBJ's 21-game hit steak started he's 2nd in MLB in hits 33 and extra base hits 15... behind his teammates Bogaerts (35), Ortiz (16).
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.
Thanks to a come-from-behind win by the Sox and a loss by the Orioles, 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 19-20 and 5.5 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 five games back at 17-17.