Red Sox hold off Cubs in thriller to open series

@Connor Friend

In recent days, the Red Sox offense has struggled mightily. Yesterday was however the opposite in the opener of a three game series with the Chicago Cubs at Fenway. After Sox starter Drew Pomeranz only scathe in the 1st was a solo shot from Kris Bryant, the offense started to get its wheels turning. Following a Xander Bogaerts leadoff strikeout, rookie outfielder Andrew Benintendi would blast a solo shot to even the game at 1. Then the offense would take over as the Red Sox would explode for 4 more runs in the first off Cubs starter Jake Arrierta. Runs driven in by Hanley Ramirez, Mitch Moreland, Jackie Bradley Jr, and Christian Vasquez. Arrieta would find his footing shortly after though, with his only other jam coming in the 4th with the bases loaded and Mookie Betts at the plate. Betts would line out to Kris Bryant who would dive back and tag third base to get the leading Christian Vasquez out in an unassisted double play by the third baseman. Hitting into double plays has been a staple of the Red Sox so far this season. Pomeranz would cruise through 6 innings, allowing 6 hits and 2 runs, both solo homers, while striking out 7. The Cubs would make the game very interesting in the late going however, scoring 2 I the 8th to make it a 4-5 ballgame. Fernando Abad would come in to try to get the final 2 outs of the 7th with runners on 2nd and 1st. Abad would strikeout both batters in his first high leverage situation with the Red Sox. In the 9th Sox closer Craig Kimbrel would come in looking to close the game out and pick up the save. Kimbrel would strikeout the first two batters before allowing a double to Ben Zobrist. Kimbrel shut the door however and would strikeout Addison Russel to close out the victory against the current Champions. This afternoon in Fenway, former Red Sock John Lackey |CHC| (1-3 4.88ERA) takes on Knuckleballer Steven Wright |BOS| (1-2 8.66ERA).

THINGS TO WATCH FOR; 

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia will remain in the 6 spot for today’s game, for the second time in his career he will bat in the position. Pedroia was the Red Sox’ everyday leadoff man until getting injured on a slide by Manny Machado. Due to the success of Xander Bogaerts in the leadoff role, Pedroia might take an extended stay towards the bottom of the order. Pedroia went 2-for-3 in the spot last night, while scoring a run.

Cubs starter John Lackey will make his first start against his former club today. In his career against the Red Sox, Lackey is 3-7 with 5.24 ERA in 14 starts in his career. Lackey was an integral piece of the Red Sox 2013 World Series team. He was the winning pitcher of the clinching game 6, so expect Lackey, who had his fair share of hatred from fans as a players or his off field drama and attitude hear a loud ovation from the Fenway Faithful.

Red Sox starter Steven Wright has a successful career in interleague play as a starter, going 3-0 with a 2.79 ERA in 4 starts. This is Wrights first career start against the Cubs. Wrights last interleague memory however, came in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Wright came in to pinch run for Drew Pomeranz and in the process injured his throwing shoulder when sliding back into second base. Many have criticized Sox manager John Farrell for this move. Wright has never regained his pitching prowess since suffering the injury.

TODAYS LINEUPS;

Red Sox
1 Bogaerts
2 Benintendi (L) (ROOKIE) LF
3 Betts RF
4 Ramirez DH
5 Moreland (L) 1B
6 Pedroia 2B
7 Bradley Jr (L) CF
8 Vasquez C
9 Hernandez (L) SS

Cubs
1 Schwarber (L) DH
2 Bryant 3B
3 Rizzo (L) 1B
4 Zobrist (S) 2B
5 Heyward (L) RF
6 Russell SS
7 Montero (L) C
8 Almora Jr CF
9 Jay (L) LF

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