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Boston Red Sox Fire & Ice: Xander Bogaerts Hot, Mike Napoli Cold

September 15th, 2014 at 4:31 PM
By Sean Penney

After getting swept at home by the Baltimore Orioles, the Boston Red Sox began their final road trip of the season by taking three of four from the Kansas City Royals to knock them out of the top spot in the AL Central. Boston trails the Tampa Bay Rays by 6 games with only a dozen left to play, making it likely they will finish in last place in the AL East. That would make them the first team in MLB history to go from last place, to first, then back to last place in their division.

Here are some players who have been hot and cold this week.

One Fire

Xander Bogaerts
Past 7 Days: .379/.406/.724, 3 HR, 6 RBI

After enduring a massive slump that seemed to last the entire summer, Bogaerts is finally starting to heat up just as the weather begins to cool off. He recently became only the 5th 21-or-younger player in team history to hit double-digit home runs in a season and 4 of his 12 homers have come in September. His recent surge has prompted John Farrell to move him up to the second spot in the order, where he and fellow rookie Mookie Betts have paired to create a formidable force at the top of the lineup.

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Boston Red Sox Vs Kansas City Royals Sunday Preview

September 14th, 2014 at 12:30 PM
By Sean Penney

The Boston Red Sox (65-84) finish up their series with the Kansas City Royals (81-66). The Royals will be looking to even up the four game series after beating Boston for the first time this season last night.

Royals manager Ned Yost mixed up his lineup and it paid immediate dividends as his team put up 7 runs – the most they have scored in the past 22 games. Nori Aoki moved to the two-hole for the first time this season and responded with an RBI single and a run scored in the first inning to give the Royals an early lead that they would not relinquish.

The Royals had lost four of their last five games heading into last night, but the win helped them keep pace with the Detroit Tigers and remain half a game behind them in the AL Central.

Scouting Report

  • Joe Kelly (1-2, 3.95 ERA) takes the hill for Boston. The Royals have had a lot of success against him in their limited exposure (.429/.500/.633). Nori Aoki is the only player in their lineup that has double-digit at-bats against him, but he's hitting a scorching .538 against him.
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Boston Red Sox Vs Kansas City Royals Saturday Preview

September 13th, 2014 at 3:51 PM
By Sean Penney

The Boston Red Sox (65-83) take on the Kansas City Royals (80-66), looking to remain undefeated against them this season. Boston has started the season 5-0 against the Royals for the first time in franchise history and knocked them out of first place in the AL Central for the first time since August 10 with last night's win.

After spending over a month in first place, the Royals are now in danger of missing the postseason altogether. They currently sit in a tie with the Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card spot. Those teams, along with the Oakland A's (who remain half a game ahead), will battle it out down the stretch for the two Wild Card spots, while the Royals simultaneously attempt to steal the division crown back from the Detroit Tigers.

Allen Webster picked up the win last night in one of his best starts of the season, holding the Royals to a pair of runs over 6 innings. He was lifted after only 83 pitches, as John Farrell likely wanted to ensure his young pitcher made it out of there on a high note.

Scouting Report

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Boston Red Sox Vs Kansas City Royals Friday Preview

September 12th, 2014 at 5:26 PM
By Sean Penney

The Boston Red Sox (64-83) continue their series with the Kansas City Royals (80-65). Boston extended their winning streak against the Royals to four straight this season by taking the series opener last night.

Clay Buchholz won his third straight start to set a new season high streak by holding the Royals to two earned runs last night. Mike Napoli tied the game with a bases loaded walk and Will Middlebrooks followed by knocking in the winning run on an RBI single. Kansas City is typically known for being a strong defensive team, but Boston was able to take advantage of three errors to score a couple of unearned runs.

Last year's World Series winning Red Sox team was 2-5 against the Royals. Now this year's last place team has taken the first 4 games against Kansas City. Boston has never won the first 5 games against Kansas City in a season before.

Scouting Report

  • Allen Webster (3-3, 6.47 ERA) gets the start for Boston. He's failed to make it through 6 innings in each of his last three starts and has struggled with his control, indicating he may be wearing down. He's already surpassed his career high in innings with 162.1, when including his starts with Pawtucket. The innings jump is reasonable for a young pitcher and should help build up toward a potential spot in next year's rotation.
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Boston Red Sox Vs Kansas City Royals Thursday Preview

September 11th, 2014 at 6:30 PM
By Sean Penney

The Boston Red Sox (63-83) head out on their last road trip of the season to take on the Kansas City Royals (80-64). Boston finished their last homestand with a 2-4 record after getting swept by the Baltimore Orioles this week.

The Royals are coming off a series where they dropped two of three to the Detroit Tigers, cutting their lead in the AL Central to 1 game (2 in the loss column). Pitching and defense has been getting it done for Kansas City this season. They have the 3rd best team ERA (3.50) in the league and boast several players that rank in the top 5 at their positions in DWAR. With a strong finish, the Royals can set themselves up for their first playoff appearance since 1985 – ending the longest active playoff drought in the league.

The Red Sox swept the Royals the last time they met in the first series coming out of the break. That marked the last time Boston completed a three-game sweep this season.

Scouting Report

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