The Boston Red Sox are coming off of an impressive three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins, and will be visiting the South Side this week for a three-game set with the Chicago White Sox. They should take two of three.
Although the White Sox have seen better years, the pitching matchups are favorable for them. Their worst matchup is tonight as they face Boston ace Jon Lester. He’ll be going up against Dylan Axelrod, who always makes things interesting.
The right-hander is coming off of his first victory of the season, an unimpressive outing where he allowed nine hits in five innings. The Red Sox bats are hot right now and if Axelrod gets in trouble early, look for them to make him pay. Boston should have this game in the bag.
The middle game seems to be where the White Sox have their best shot at winning. They’ll be facing Felix Doubront, who makes seemingly ordinary starts turn into adventures. He is easily the least reliable member of the Red Sox rotation and will be opposed by Jose Quintana.
Although Quintana has not won since April 24, he is almost never removed during the middle of an inning, and doesn’t get blown up like Doubrant has been known to. Look for the White Sox to take this game.
The finale is one of the most anticipated matchups of the season, featuring two of the leading Cy Young candidates: Clay Buchholz and Chris Sale. While Buchholz has had three no-decisions in a row, he has continued to strike out batters at an incredible rate while keeping his ERA at 1.78.
Sale has been downright filthy. He currently sports a 23-inning scoreless streak, and has struck out 19 in his last two outings. Numbers can be deceiving though, as Sale has done this against the lowly Los Angeles Angels and Kansas City Royals.
The difference-maker in the Buchholz-Sale matchup will be the hitters. The White Sox lineup may have been scary in 2005, but today they feature a collection of older players and unproven youngsters. Adam Dunn has his usual 10 home runs to go along with his usual batting average of .169. Likewise, age seems to be catching up with Paul Konerko, who is only hitting .224 with four home runs.
Most of the punch in the White Sox lineup comes from the combination of Alex Rios and Alejandro De Aza. Rios continues to hit well into his 30s, and leads the club with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs. De Aza has chipped in a respectable seven home runs with 17 RBIs. Both are a threat on the base paths and have each stolen seven bases.
The Red Sox lineup is hot. No one is hitting better than Dustin Pedroia. David Ortiz continues to tear the cover off of the ball, Will Middlebrooks seems to have broken out of his early-season slump and Daniel Nava continues to make 2013 the best season of his young career.
Expect the Boston lineup to get to Sale on Wednesday and take two of three from the White Sox.