The Sox enter this series doing very well on the road as they have won the past two series as they finish this road trip in Chicago hoping to go 3 for 3! Since the road trip the Red Sox have showed everyone that they are still the April team we saw out on the field. Since the first loss on the road trip they've reminded us all that it's a long season, and sometimes the hits and wins drop in, and other times they don't. They head to Chicago to face the White Sox, in the hopes of wrapping up this road trip with yet another series win and that much better of a record. Chicago is in fourth place in the Central, avoiding last despite consecutive losses thanks in part to the Red Sox sweep of the Twins and currently sit at 19-23. Both pitching teams have done very well but the offense for the White Sox has not been well enough to matchup against Clay Buchholz AND Jon Lester!
Game 1: Jon Lester (6-0) vs. Dylan Axelrod (1-3)
The White Sox have a decision to make in the coming week with veteran starter John Danks' anticipated return from the 15-day disabled list and a possible start on Friday but for game 1 they will go with Dylan Axelrod. Axelrod will look to improve on his last start, when he picked up the win in a 9-4 Chicago victory over the Twins on Wednesday but allowed three runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. He'll have the luxury of pitching in front of his home crowd, something the White Sox haven't had the opportunity to do much of recently. Axelrod will oppose Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester, who is 6-0 with a 2.72 ERA on the season. Lester followed his one-hit shutout of the Blue Jays on May 10 with a seven-inning performance against the Rays on Wednesday, when he allowed two runs and struck out five. On the road this seeason Lester has been strong as well. He has held opponents to a .193 batting average and has pitched well on the road, going 3-0 with a 3.48 ERA. Closer Andrew Bailey is set to return to the big league club on Monday after making a final rehab appearance with Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday. The inning he pitched in the outing didn't go so well. He gave up a home run to former Major Leaguer Brett Carroll and also surrendered a double, but retired the other three Indianapolis hitters he faced. With their 3-1 win over the Twins on Sunday, the Red Sox have tied their second longest winning streak of the year at five. Their longest streak is seven, which they set from April 13-20. Both teams look strong pitching wise into this game but the Red Sox have the edge on the offensive side of things.
Prediction: Red Sox win 6-3
Game 2: Felix Doubront (3-1) vs. Jose Quintana
Tonight's game 2 matchup will feature young Red Sox pitcher Felix Doubront who has had ups and downs all season long and has yet to stay too consistent. Doubront had his rotation spot taken away from him for a single game two weeks ago but due to a poor outing by Allen Webster, Felix is right back in it. The lefty still hasn't found his groove. But he at least kept the Sox in the game in his last start, giving up three hits and two runs in five-plus innings while walking six and whiffing seven. Opponents are hitting Doubront at a .307 clip this year. He has definitely found the strikeout pitch he needs to retire batters. After a series sweep this past weekend the Sox had a rough start in Chicago coming up with the loss due to the White Sox offense randomly waking up and crushing the ball on Lester. The Red Sox, who went 69-93 last season, were 6-2 against the White Sox last season, their first season series victory against Chicago since 2007. The Sox also lead the league in most road series wins this season so they hope to come out with back to back wins over the next two nights. The White Sox will send Jose Quintana to the mound who is 2-1 with a 3.97 ERA this year but hasn't won since April 24. He allowed the Angels four earned runs in 6 2/3 innings on Thursday, a no-decision. Quintana, like Doubront has had a very average year so far and is not a shocker to anyone so far. Alex Rios extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games with a first-inning single Monday. He's batting .383 (23-for-60) with four homers and 12 RBIs during the streak.
Prediction: White Sox win 5-2
Game 3: Clay Buchholz (6-0) vs. Hector Santiago (1-2)
After being no hit through 6 frames last night the Sox still came up short of the win and now will send Clay Buchholz to the mound who is coming off three no decision games. At this point I really hope the accusations of doctoring are over with a Buchholz can get back to being himself. In five career starts vs. the White Sox, he is 1-2 with a 5.02 ERA. Still with a 1.78ERA Clay will need the Boston offense to wake up if he wants to come through and get his 7th win here finally. On Friday, the right-hander held the Twins to two runs over seven innings, despite not always being quite comfortable. "Overall, I felt pretty good," Buchholz said after his last outing. "I use all my pitches every time I go out there and pitch, so the confidence behind throwing a cutter in a fastball count, or throwing a fastball in a fastball count, comes along with being able to throw those pitches for strikes. To face Buchholz will be Hector Santiago who in 11 games (four starts) is 1-2 with a 2.78 ERA. In the lefty's last two outings, he's given up nine runs (six earned) over four innings, making for an ERA of 6.00. Santiago's performance will presumably impact whether White Sox manager Robin Ventura decides to leave him in the rotation after Danks returns. Santiago's competition, Axelrod, pitched against the Red Sox on Monday and held them to two runs over six innings. The slumpster in the Sox line up lately has been speedy Jacoby Ellsbury who can't seem to make contact with the ball. John Farrell has already made comments about moving him lower in the lineup then where he has sat at the top for most of the career in Boston. "We have considered it, yes," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "And we're sticking with him to hopefully give him the opportunity to come out of the situation he's in right now. But I can say this: whether he's hitting first or whether he's hitting somewhere else in the lineup, there are still things we have to address and he has to address. Those are ongoing." So far this month Ellsbury is hitting .190. So far in this series the White Sox have outscored the Red Sox 9-5.
Prediction: Red Sox hold off the sweep winning 4-1 and Ellsbury goes 2 for 4!