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Red Sox (17-17) at Rangers (18-17) Preview

Napoli is a player to watch this series

After finally reaching the .500 mark (on the ninth try), the Red Sox are in Arlington, Texas tonight at 8:05 to face the Rangers. Coming off sweeping the Cincinnati Reds, the Red Sox look to build on their recent success and move to the front of a struggling AL East Division.Clay Buchholz opens the series tonight looking to build on two straight solid starts against the typically dominating Yu Darvish.

After tonight matchup, Jon Lester faces off against Martin Perez tomorrow night and John Lackey opposes Robbie Ross Jr. on Sunday afternoon. Red Sox pitching has been solid all season ranking fifth in the American League with a 3.61 ERA, with the bats seemingly turning around the team is heading in the right direction.

Players to Watch

1. Jon Lester: After a scintillating 15 strikeout performance, Lester looks to continue on his strong start of the season. Despite a subpar 3-4 record (do mostly to poor run support), Lester he pitched to a 2.59 ERA and in tied for fifth in the Major Leagues with 58 strikeouts.

2. Martin Perez: After a sterling start to the season with a 1.42 ERA in his first five starts, his ERA has more than doubled to 3.59 over his past two starts. A third straight start bad start would prove the beginning or Perez’s season to be fluky, but a shutdown start could silence the doubts.

3. Mike Napoli: Napoli has not reached base a career high 29 games. He currently leads the Red Sox in average (.289), OBP (.417) and RBIs (20). Napoli also leads the league is pitches per plate appearance with 4.68. Napoli’s consistence is crucial to the team’s success.

Series Thoughts and Tidbits

-The Red Sox have a 4-9 record the past three years in Arlington

-At the date, Prince Fielder has less home runs (3) than Michael Brantley of the Cleveland Indians (6). Brantley’s career high for home runs in a season is 10.

-The Red Sox and Rangers are second and fourth in the league in OBP respectively

-Yu Darvish has a 5.93 ERA against Boston in two career starts

 

About Jamie Worthington - @Jam_Worth

Jamie is a regular contributor and editor for Sports of Boston, but has thoughts for all Boston areas sports for SoB. He loves that in sports everyone is allowed to have their own opinion and wants to hear yours! Follow him on twitter at: @Jam_Worth

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