Interleague Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, June 15th
(All times Eastern)
Boston Red Sox (31-32) at Chicago Cubs (21-42), 2:20 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Boston - Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1, 7.20)
Chicago - Ryan Dempster (2-3, 2.31)
(Sports Network) - Theo Epstein may be a baby-faced executive, but has wits
beyond his years and constructed a pair of World Series-winning teams with the
Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007.
Epstein departed his post in Beantown after last season to become president of
baseball operations for Chicago and is hoping to pull another rabbit out of
the hat down the road for the title-starved Cubs much like he did with Boston.
The Red Sox will face their former general manager when they invade Wrigley
Field this afternoon for the opener of a three-game interleague series with
the Cubs. Both teams are last in their respective divisions, as the Red Sox
sit in the basement of the American League East with a record one game below
.500 at 31-32. Chicago is 14 1/2 games off the pace in the NL Central and 21
games below the .500 mark.
Boston won the final two installments of a three-game series at Miami and won
the set with a 10-2 explosion on Wednesday. David Ortiz homered and finished
with three RBI, Adrian Gonzalez went 3-for-5 with two RBI and Nick Punto added
a pair of hits and drove in two runs for the Red Sox, who won for just the
third time in 10 tries and had scored a total of 12 runs in the previous five
games before the 10-run outburst.
A six-run eighth inning made a winner out of Red Sox starter Felix Doubront.
He worked seven innings and allowed three hits and two runs while fanning
nine. The left-hander held the Marlins hitless into the sixth inning.
"Felix was outstanding. He had all of his arsenal tonight," said Red Sox
manager Bobby Valentine. "Explosive fastball, curveball was thrown for strikes
early and late...that was just good pitching."
Red Sox left fielder Daniel Nava was not in the starting lineup for a fourth
straight game because of a sore left hand and could return Friday. Infielder
Kevin Youkilis was not in the lineup either after taking a pitch to his ribs
from Marlins reliever Steve Cishek. Youkilis has been plagued by issues this
season and the team is hoping he can play today.
The Red Sox, who are scheduled to return to Fenway Park for nine games after
this set with the Cubs, will hand the ball to Daisuke Matsuzaka for his second
start of the season. Dice K, of course, is coming off Tommy John surgery and
will make his first career start at Wrigley Field. Matsuzaka made his 2012
debut in Saturday's 4-2 loss versus Washington and allowed all four runs and
five hits in five innings. The right-hander struck out eight and walked one.
Matsuzaka has never faced the Cubs in his career and is one win away from 50
in his career (49-31).
Meanwhile, Chicago is having a horrible June and fell to 3-10 this month after
a 5-3 loss versus Detroit on Thursday. It was Chicago's second straight loss
and sixth in eight tries, as starting pitcher Travis Wood fell to 0-3 on the
season after giving up three runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. Wood was
outdueled by Tigers ace Justin Verlander.
"It was another battle for me out there today," Wood said. "I was able to keep
it close and pitch out of a lot of jams. A guy like Verlander is a great
pitcher even when he doesn't have his 'A' game."
Darwin Barney had two hits and an RBI for the Cubs, who lost two of three to
the Tigers to open a six-game homestand and have dropped two in a row at home
after ripping off four straight wins inside Wrigley Field. The Cubs are in a
stretch of 15 of 18 games (1-2) in the Windy City.
Chicago is 2-7 in interleague play this season and was 5-10 against the
American League in 2011. Alfonso Soriano had a hit and a run scored in the
loss and owns 12 homers in his last 27 games dating back to May 15. He had
belted at least one homer in each of Chicago's last nine series, coming up
empty in all three games versus Detroit.
The Cubs activated catcher Welington Castillo (knee) from the DL on Thursday
and designated Koyie Hill for assignment. Castillo hasn't played since May 18
and could start tonight. Steve Clevenger was behind the plate against Detroit
and Geovany Soto is still recovering from knee surgery.
Ryan Dempster has been the subject of trade rumors lately and is scheduled to
toe the rubber in Friday's series opener for the Cubs. Dempster has won
consecutive starts and is aiming for his first three-game winning streak since
last July 31-Aug. 11.
After he was hit for six runs in 4 1/3 innings of an 8-6 win over San Diego on
May 30, Dempster has posted two straight scoreless starts. He threw seven
shutout innings in a 10-0 pounding at Milwaukee on June 5, then worked eight
scoreless frames in an 8-2 triumph at Minnesota on Sunday. The latest effort
lifted his record to 2-3 in 11 starts and lowered his ERA to 2.31. Opponents
are also batting just .206 against Dempster.
Dempster, a right-hander, is 0-2 in five home starts this season and hasn't
tasted victory at Wrigley Field since last Aug. 11 versus Washington. In four
games, three of which have been starts, against Boston, Dempster is 1-1 with a
7.13 earned run average.
The Cubs lost two of three matchups with Boston a year ago and haven't hosted
the Red Sox since winning two of three meetings back in 2005.
06/15 10:53:24 ET