Boston Red Sox (17-18) vs. Seattle Mariners (15-19) 7:10 PM PST
The Red Sox were victorious over the Mariners in the series opener on Thursday night in a tight ballgame. In the end, the Sox won on a botched fly ball to left fielder Rickie Weeks, after Fernando Rodney put two runners on base with a walk and a single. The M’s look to rebound tonight with reliable veteran J.A. Happ on the hill.
Pitching Matchup: Clay Buchholz (2-4, 5.73 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ (3-1, 3.29 ERA)
Buchholz: Clay Buchholz takes the mound for the Red Sox tonight, as he looks to lower his 5.73 ERA to a more Clay Buchholz-like figure. Granted, that number is inflated by the nine earned runs he allowed in 3.1 innings against the Yankees in early April, but Buchholz has struggled to find his stride all season. In each of his last three starts, the long-time Red Sox starter has allowed at least three runs and averaged only slightly more than five innings. Walks haven’t been the problem for Buchholz, which means that the hungry Mariners bats should be looking to hit the right hander hard tonight.
Happ: Anybody that has followed the Mariners at all this season knows that J.A. Happ has been a very pleasant surprise. Well, that depends on who you are talking to, because Manager Lloyd McClendon (and myself) have not been surprised at all about Happ’s 3-1 record and impressive 3.29 ERA. The veteran left hander has acclimated nicely to Safeco Field–a refreshing change of scenery for Happ after his two-and-a-half years in the launching pad that is the Rogers Centre. After allowing a season high, six earned runs, two starts ago, Happ settled down for eight strikeouts and one run over five innings in his last outing. I expect Happ to get deep into tonight’s game and give the Mariners the solid outing they are looking for.
Apr 29, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielderHanley Ramirez
(13) watches his two run home run clear the green monster against the Toronto Blue Jays during the third inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
1. Mookie Betts CF
2. Dustin Pedroia 2B
3. David Ortiz DH
4. Hanley Ramirez LF
5. Mike Napoli 1B
6. Shane Victorino RF
7. Pablo Sandoval 3B
8. Xander Bogaerts SS
9. Sandy Leon C
Notes: Seattle Mariners’ manager Lloyd McClendon shifted his pitching rotation a bit in order to throw three lefties at the Red Sox in this series. So far, the right-handed bat of Hanley Ramirez hasn’t minded at all, going 4-for-5 last night. While Pablo Sandoval and Big Papi might be silenced by the Mariners southpaws, the big, right-handed bats of Ramirez and Mike Napoli will look to feast on the Seattle lefties.
May 10, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners designated hitter Rickie Weeks (25) andNelson Cruz
(23) andDustin Ackley
(13) celebrate after their 4-3 win over the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
1. Seth Smith LF
2. Brad Miller SS
3. Robinson Cano 2B
4. Nelson Cruz RF
5. Kyle Seager 3B
6. Justin Ruggiano CF
7. Logan Morrison 1B
8. Rickie Weeks DH
9. Mike Zunino C
Notes: After leaving way too many runners on base in a one-run loss on Thursday night, the Mariners’ offense will look to rebound tonight. As with any Mariners win, the middle of the lineup will need to continue to be productive. We need to start seeing Cano drive in some more runs if the M’s want to start winning a lot of baseball games. That being said, don’t be surprised at all if the Mariners get some production from veterans like Justin Ruggiano and Rickie Weeks, who might have a bit of a chip on their shoulder coming off the bench. Also, Brad Miller is back at shortstop. Look for the recently dubbed utility man to play his heart out and prove that he belongs in the six-hole.
3 Things to Watch For:
1. Revenge of Rickie
Let’s be honest, Rickie Weeks looked like a fool last night when he dropped a routine fly ball in the ninth inning. While Weeks hasn’t been consistent for the M’s this year, he has had a knack for hitting home runs in clutch situations. The veteran is in the lineup as the designated hitter tonight, and I say that he makes amends for his defensive blunder with a strong offensive game.
2. Justin Ruggiano??
Late in last night’s game, Justin Ruggiano came in to pinch-hit for centerfielder Dustin Ackley. Ruggiano hit a deep fly ball to right field, but it was snared on an incredible play by Shane Victorino. The veteran outfielder has turned in some good at-bats lately, and I think it’s time for a guy named Justin that doesn’t play first base to hit one out at Safeco Field.
3. A One Run Game?? No Way!
The Seattle Mariners have had more one-run games than any other team in baseball with 16. In fact, the Mariners have won only TWO games by more than three runs this season. With two solid pitchers on the mound in Clay Buchholz and J.A. Happ, I expect this game to be another close one. Despite their struggles this season, the Mariners are a decent 8-8 in one run ball games, but they will want to improve on that number if they want to become contenders in 2015.
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Last Game’s Predictions (Red Sox vs. Mariners May 14, 2015):
1. Cano Does What Cano Does Best–OUT
Cano had a nice defensive play and a base hit, but he only went 1-4 and did not have an extra-base hit. The All-Star second baseman is still waiting for the homers to come, and the average to get up closer to .300.
2. Brad Miller Gets the Start in Left Field–OUT
In this instance, I am actually glad that I was wrong. Brad had an absolute shot hit at him by the first batter of the game, and handled it quite nicely. In fact, Brad played well in left field, but unfortunately we can’t say the same for his late-game replacement Rickie Weeks.
3. Kyle Seager Gets HAWT–HIT
Ok, I’m being a little bit easy on myself, but number 15 did have two solid base hits. He didn’t go yard or turn in any extra base hits, but the young star looked solid on Thursday night. Hopefully he can build on his 2-4 night and drive in some runs tonight.
Outs: 8 Hits: 4
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