In the past, you would show up at Fenway Park or Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and be in for a slugfest of sorts, but with the way the Rangers and Red Sox have been playing, pitching has been key to their success.
If the Red Sox want to beat the Rangers on Saturday night, they will need to get on the board early and score often against Alexi Ogando, who will start on the mound for the Rangers. Ogando is 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA this season and 1-2 with a 5.11 ERA over his career against the Red Sox.
Since David Ortiz returned for the disabled list, there hasn’t been much to complain about. Over his first 11 games of the season, he has gone 20-for-43 (.465) with three home runs and 15 RBI. Against Ogando in his career, the 37-year-old has a home run and an RBI in only four at-bats. He will need to step up on Saturday night if the Red Sox want to avoid the series loss.
Mike Napoli made his return to his former stomping grounds and was silent in his first game as a member of the Red Sox in Rangers Ballpark. Napoli went 0-for-4 with a strikeout against Derek Holland on Friday night. The first basemen will look to come out of his shell and show the Rangers’ fans what they are missing on Saturday night. On the season, the 31-year-old is batting .274 with 15 doubles, six home runs and 31 RBI.
The Red Sox will send John Lackey to the mound for Saturday night’s bout. Lackey will be making his second start since returning from the disabled list. In his first start back, the right hander tossed six innings, surrendering an earned run and striking out four. Over the past 10 years against the Rangers, the 34-year-old is 12-14 with a 6.16 ERA in 195.2 innings.
First pitch is set for 8:05 p.m. ET.