With the best record in Major League Baseball going into tonight’s action, the Boston Red Sox begin a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels and their two-way star Shohei Ohtani. With a record of 2-0 as a pitcher, Ohtani will be on the mound tonight for the 13-3 Angels against the 13-2 Red Sox, who are in first place in the American League East. As a designated hitter for the American League West leaders, Ohtani is batting 0.367 with three home runs and 11 RBI. David Price gets the start for Boston.
“In two starts — both against Oakland, one at home and one on the road — Ohtani has showcased an arsenal fully capable of shutting down an elite lineup such as the Red Sox,” the Boston Herald explained about the Japanese player in his first MLB season who has a 2.08 ERA with 18 strikeouts so far.
[See Update below]
That said, the Red Sox starting pitching (and relievers for the most part, especially closer Craig Kimbrel) and offense are currently firing on all cylinders. Inclement weather forced the cancellation of yesterday’s 11 a.m. Marathon Monday game against the Baltimore Orioles, otherwise the Sox may have swept the O’s after winning the first three games against them.
Absent the Opening Day eighth-inning meltdown against Tampa Bay, and the fact that Price bowed out against the New York Yankees after one inning, moreover, the Boston Red Sox could have entered tonight’s action undefeated after their first three series against the Rays, Yankees, and Orioles.
MLB rescheduled yesterday’s Orioles-Sox game to May 17, an off day for both squads.
For what it’s worth, the Red Sox also had the best record in MLB Spring Training 2018 at 22-9-1.
Baseball is like a daily soap opera for sports fans, and even the top-tier clubs lose about 60 games in the roller-coaster, 162-game MLB regular soon, so the losses may start mounting, particularly on long road trips. After three games with the Angels, the Red Sox head to Oakland and then back east to Toronto before they return home.
“The Red Sox have allowed three or fewer runs 12 out of 15 games, best in the majors to date,” the Boston Herald noted.
“They are a combined 9-1 with a 2.06 ERA, the best in baseball,” the Boston Globe added about Boston starting staff that includes Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, and Price.
Red-hot shortstop Xander Bogaerts is on the DL with an ankle injury, but the offense has kept rolling, Barstool Sports detailed.
“Boston’s shortstop was hitting 0.368 with a 1.111 OPS prior to his injury, by far the hottest hitter on the team at the time. Since losing Bogaerts, the Red Sox are 6-1, including a six-run bottom of the 8th rally in the game that they lost him in. Over those seven games, the Red Sox have hit 0.310 with a 0.880 OPS. That OPS leads all major league teams with their team batting average coming in second behind their next opponent, the Anaheim Angels. Ironically enough, Red Sox shortstops have collectively hit 0.333 with a 0.845 OPS in those seven games without Bogaerts, too. Overall, in the seven games without Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland, Hanley Ramirez, Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts and Eduardo Nunez have combined to hit 0.376 with a 1.137 OPS.”
After a slow start, free-agent signee J.D. Martinez has three home runs and 13 RBI, raising his average to 0.268.
Rightfielder Betts, with a slash line of 353/.452/.608, left Sunday’s game with a foot contusion but is expected back in the lineup tonight.
Under rookie manager Alex Cora, who seems to have a far better rapport with the team than his predecessor John Farrell, the Boston Red Sox have supposedly adopted a new philosophy of aggressiveness at the plate, including swinging at the first pitch, rather than working deep into the count.
Parenthetically, the Toronto Blue Jays’ attempt at social media trolling about bad weather seems to have backfired, WEEI reported.
“A number of teams around the league had to postpone games on Monday due to inclement weather and the Blue Jays took the opportunity to brag about the roof on Rogers Centre. ‘Weather update: Due to our stadium having a roof, today’s game will be … played as expected,’ the account posted in a now-deleted tweet. BUT THEN, incredibly, the team had to postpone the game because ice falling from the CN Tower next door and damaged the roof of Rogers Centre.”
As a result, the Blue Jays will play the Chicago White Sox today in a traditional (i.e., one admission) doubleheader.
Update: Shohei Ohtani lasted just two innings against the Boston Red Sox in Anaheim. He gave up three runs and four hits in the 10-1 rout by the visitors who are now 14-2. Mookie Betts blasted three home runs in the game.