By Matt Straub
The Boston Red Sox are hard to understand. There are times when they look lost and times when they seem ready to finally emerge and become the playoff contenders people thought they could be. Sometimes they look like both in the same series.Their most recent series in Seattle was an example. They won a tight one one day and embarrassed themselves 48 hours later. The good days only make the bad ones more frustrating.
With a new pitching coach in tow who seems to be getting more from the starters, Boston comes home from a long road trip which saw both the good and bad this team has shown flashes of this year. The good news is they survived it, and now come home, after a needed off day, with a chance to beat up on the struggling Texas Rangers.
Let’s see how they can do it.
Texas Rangers (16-22, fourth place AL West)
at Boston Red Sox (18-20, 3rd place AL East)
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.
Yovani Gallardo (3-5, 3.94 ERA) vs. Wade Miley (2-4, 5.60)
Wednesday, 7:10 p.m.
Phil Klein (0-0, 7.71) vs. Joe Kelly (1-2, 5.58)
Thursday, 7:10 p.m.
Wandy Rodriguez (1-2, 3.86) vs. Clay Buchholz (2-4, 4.93)
The Red Sox split their 10-game road trip, which is really all you can ask a team to do. For Boston, however, it was actually a sign of progress. I crushed their move to fire pitching coach Juan Nieves, but the staff does seem to be better under Carl Willis. I still say it’s accidental and the main problem is the awful staff Ben Cherington put together, but if it works, go with it. Texas, without Yu Darvish, who killed the Sox last year, has lost six of 10 and is already nine out in the West. The Red Sox are coming home and facing a struggling team, and need to take advantage of it.
Three Rangers To Watch
1. Prince Fielder is off to a fantastic start and starting to resemble the player he once was in Milwaukee. He has to prove himself healthy and consistent for a year to be all the way back, but so far he looks awfully good.
2. Red Sox fans will remember Adrian Beltre, who is still mashing homers. He just hit his 400th and is starting to get into Hall of Fame discussions. Putting him with a revived Fielder is scary.
3. Shin-Soo Choo doesn’t make contact terribly often, but when he does the ball can go quite far. If he ever finds himself in a hot streak this week, it could be a long one in Boston.
The Angels come to Fenway this weekend for another important series as Boston continues a long stretch against the west.