Records Entering Series: BOS (22-8, 1st in AL East), TEX (12-20, 5th in AL West)
The Red Sox still have the best record in the MLB and travel to Texas, where the Rangers have won just 4 games all year. The Boston bats are back to rolling, led by Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, after struggling to break out for about a week.
Price, Porcello, Rodriguez and Sale will take the mound for Boston, but Rodriguez was placed on bereavement leave on Tuesday. He’s expected to return for his scheduled start on Saturday, but we could see Hector Velazquez get the ball if his leave is extended.
Texas is better than their record suggests, so Boston should be ready for a tough battle over the 4-game series.
With a trip to New York to face the Yankees on the horizon for the Red Sox, they’ll look to take advantage of Texas’ slow start and take at least a split here, but preferably 3 of 4.
Hitters to Watch
BOS: Mookie Betts – It’s hard to talk about Mookie’s 2018 without an extensive use of hyperbole, but it’s safe to say that he’s off to an historic start. He ranks at or towards the top of every statistical offensive category in the MLB, he’s leading the Red Sox in OBP, SLG, OPS, home runs and runs scored, and he’s coming off of his second 3 HR game of the season. He’s a force to be reckoned with this year.
TEX: Adrian Beltre – Beltre seems to be an ageless wonder. Now 20 years into his MLB career, he just doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. The former Red Sox is currently batting .310, and although he’s only hit 1 HR this year, he has 463 on his professional resume, so he’s always a deep threat.
Pitchers to Watch
BOS: David Price – This will be a big start for Price. He’s been both good and bad for the Sox so far, and to understand how his season has gone to this point, take a look at April’s report cards. He needs a solid outing to perhaps restore some confidence he may be lacking right now.
TEX: Bartolo Colon – Speaking of ageless wonders, what a season Bartolo Colon is having. The 44-year old is leading Texas starters in both ERA (2.87) and WHIP (.86). He’s already come tantalizingly close to a no-hitter in 2018, and will certainly be a formidable opponent on the mound opposite Boston hitters.
Matchup to Watch: Joey Gallo vs. Boston’s starting pitching
Gallo may only be hitting .225 so far this year, but he’s already blasted 10 home runs. He’s the biggest power threat for Texas, and he can change any game with one swing of the bat. Boston’s 4 slated starters for this series have allowed a combined 12 HR so far, with Chris Sale and David Price both giving up 4 each. They’ll have to be careful with Gallo and attempt to locate all of their pitches, particularly their fastballs.