The Boston Red Sox hope to change their recent trends against a new opponent as they open a three-game series against the visiting Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
The Red Sox send Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 2.51 ERA) to the mound as they look to bounce back from losing a third consecutive home series to begin the season.
Thursday’s 8-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels was Boston’s second straight and ninth in 12 games. The Sox were shut out for the second time this season, a day after losing a 10-5, 10-inning game in which the Angels were down to their final strike.
“We have to keep swinging at strikes and do damage in the zone. We’ve got to get better,” manager Alex Cora said. “… We have to put a complete game together, and we haven’t done that in a while.”
Shohei Ohtani’s 11 strikeouts in seven innings were the most by a starting pitcher against Boston this season.
Outfielder Enrique Hernandez was out Wednesday due to sickness, which the team hopes is not COVID-related.
“He’s feeling better, but nothing (is known yet) as far as testing,” Cora said.
Eovaldi struck out eight across seven scoreless frames Saturday at Baltimore. He retired 17 of the first 18 batters he faced in his 28th career scoreless start of at least six innings.
Despite struggling to find the win column, Boston’s starting pitchers have allowed two or fewer runs in 13 of the last 14 games.
“The only way we’re going to get back to where we need to be is even taking it at a smaller step than one game at a time — one pitch at a time, one swing at a time — and be able to make things small,” said lefty Rich Hill, who threw five shutout innings on Thursday.
Eovaldi is 2-1 with a 5.63 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) against the White Sox, including a 10-strikeout performance over 6 1/3 innings in a win on April 19, 2021.
The White Sox had Thursday off one day after beating the rival Chicago Cubs, 4-3, for their third straight win. Gavin Sheets and AJ Pollock had the game-tying and winning hits with two outs.
They will head to Boston without outfielder Andrew Vaughn, who was placed on the 10-day injured list (bruised right hand) on Thursday. Vaughn was originally scheduled to play on Wednesday, but the injury still ached when he attempted to swing.
“It’s an area where it’s not about being tough enough to handle it, it just alters everything you do,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said.
Infielder Danny Mendick, who played collegiately at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte.
“We faced a lot of adversity (including an early two-run deficit) and now we have guys banged up,” White Sox relief pitcher Matt Foster said on Wednesday. “But we have other guys who step up and fill those roles and just do their job, and we come through it.”
Lucas Giolito struck out 10 in 5 2/3 innings, and now Vince Velasquez (1-2, 4.58) will look to build upon that performance.
Velasquez earned his first win for Chicago in a Saturday start against the Angels, allowing four hits with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Notably he did not walk a batter and has allowed just one free pass over his last two starts, covering nine innings.
The righty will be making his sixth career appearance and fifth start against Boston. He has a 8.47 ERA in 17 innings against the Red Sox after being tagged for eight runs in 2 1/3 frames last July 9 at Fenway while pitching for Philadelphia.
–Field Level Media