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2024 Season | Series #6 | Guardians @ Red Sox | April 15-18, 2024

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Wham with the Right Hand

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Leading the A.L. Central with a 10-5 record and off to their best start in 15 years the Guardians head to Fenway for a big four-game series with the Red Sox. The Sox are 9-7. The combined record of their opponents in other games is 22-24, so they’ve been playing mediocre competition so far.

Following this series the Guardians play Oakland and then three more against the Red Sox in Cleveland, so seven of the next ten games are against Boston and we’re done with them for the year.

The Red Sox have been a little below average offensively, ranking 18th in scoring at 4.5 runs per game. They rank from 19th to 22nd in OBP, slugging percentage, and OPS. Their strikeout percentage is among the highest (27%) but they rank 9th in home run percentage. They seem to be free swingers who go for the home run or nothing. They have 20 home runs in 16 games.

By the way, the Guardians’ staff has the lowest home run percentage in baseball. That could partly be due to ranking 27th in walk percentage. Generally they’d rather walk a batter than groove one.

Pitching is where the Sox have excelled as they lead the majors with a 2.44 ERA. They are 2nd in WHIP, OBP, and strikeout percentage. They throw strikes, ranking 5th in walk percentage. Their starters have an amazing ERA of 1.96, but their FIP is 3.34 so they’ve had some luck. Their BABIP is the 5th lowest.

Their bullpen ranks 7th in ERA and 11th in WAR (the Guardians are 2nd and 1st in those categories).

RF Tyler O’Neill is hitting .304/1.209 and has 7 of their 21 home runs. 1B Triston Casas is hitting .259/.858, C Reese McGuire is at .294/.851, and LF Jarren Duran is at .303/.759. Backup catcher Conner Wong is hitting .333/.815. They definitely have two catchers who can rake. As a team, however, they are hitting .233/.680.

The Red Sox clearly have the starting pitching advantage on paper. In the opener it’s Xzavion Curry, who has not pitched in the majors this year, against Kutter Crawford, who has a 0.57 ERA in three starts.

Game 2 is Tanner Bibee against Garrett Whitlock, who has a 1.36 ERA in three starts. Game 3 is Ben Lively, also with no innings this year, against Tanner Houck, whose ERA is 2.04 in three starts. Carlos Carrasco goes in Game 4 against a TBD starter.

All three announced Boston starters are right-handed and 27-28 years old. Crawford has a career mark of 9-15, 4.45 ERA, but he’s been way better than that so far this year. He has only gone 15.1 innings in his three starts; they have not let him go past 90 pitches yet, but he’s been extremely effective. Current Guardians are hitting .345/1.022 against him, but he looks like a different guy this year.

I don’t know what to expect from Curry. He had a 5.24 ERA as a starter last year. The Sox have a wRC+ of 92 against right-handed pitching and 91 against lefties so they don’t favor either. Most of the Red Sox’ top hitters bat left-handed; Casas, Duran, Devers, McGuire, Yoshida. The only righties swinging the stick well right now are O’Neill and Wong. O’Neill is hitting .323/1.320 against RHP’s.

This could be a relatively low scoring series. The Sox are a little below average at scoring runs so far. The one area where they rank high is home run percentage and the Guardians’ staff is the best in the majors are preventing home runs. Also, the Guardians’ bullpen has been the best in baseball so far. If the score is tied going to the bullpens I like our chances.

However, we just played a double-header so if Curry can’t get far into the first game we could be in trouble later in the series if the bullpen has to work a lot of innings Monday and Tuesday. The bullpen pitched 7.1 innings on Sunday, not counting Parsons who was sent back to the minors.

The Guardians are 11th in runs per game but Boston has the top ERA, so runs could be hard to come by for both teams. The Guardians’ starting pitching might be the key.

Until I see differently I think Curry and Lively suck at starting. Last year Lively had a 5.48 ERA as a starter. He’s 32 years old with a career record of 8-17 with a 5.05 ERA. I don’t think he or Curry are major league starters. Hope they prove me wrong.
 
For those interested in the lore of why this game is so early, it’s a tradition for the Red Sox to play a game that starts at this time on the day of the Boston Marathon, so that after the game is over, the fans empty out into Kenmore Square to cheer on the runners who are usually passing by at that time.
 
For those interested in the lore of why this game is so early, it’s a tradition for the Red Sox to play a game that starts at this time on the day of the Boston Marathon, so that after the game is over, the fans empty out into Kenmore Square to cheer on the runners who are usually passing by at that time.
Let's play another extra-inning game and screw up their stupid little tradition.
 
Josh Naylor is 3-for-5 with two doubles against Kutter Crawford (by the way, does he throw a cutter?). Jose is 2-for-6 with a home run. Florial is 1-for-2 with a walk. Brennan homered off him and Kwan is 2-for-7. We've had some success against him.

But in three starts this year he's been dominant, although he's only gone 15.1 innings. He's allowed just 7 hits. Left-handed batters are a ridiculous 2-for-29 with 13 K's against him. He must have developed a new pitch in the off-season that is devastating against lefties. Opposing batters are hitting .127 off him. Not bad for a 28-year-old with 9 career wins.

It will be interesting to see how he does today against the Guardian hitters who have roughed him up in the past.
 
Expectation from Curry: 4 IP.. no less.. if he goes more than 4, call it a bonus..
 
Lets see if the game seems a little sluggish today, going off so early.
 
One pitch, one ground out.

So far, so good...lol
 
I love how people are talking about the Red Soxs game in the Yankees thread! Lol
 

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