The Wednesday night matchup between the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox has late-breaking pitching news.
First pitch will come at 7:10 p.m. (ET) from Fenway Park. Don Best is projecting Boston as a $1.65 favorite with a pretty hefty run total of 11.
This is the third game of a 4-game set. Boston won (5-1) the Monday opener and spoiled the return of prodigal son Kevin Youkilis, who had three hits. The Tuesday night result was still pending at press time.
Chicago’s Gavin Floyd has been scratched for Wednesday with a forearm injury. Pedro Hernandez, a 23-year-old lefty from Venezuela, is expected to make his MLB debut. Hernandez came over from the Padres in the offseason in the Carlos Quentin trade.
Don Best MLB analyst Kenny White hasn’t seen anything special from Hernandez in the minors. He has an 88-92 mph fastball, a good changeup and a mediocre curve. He does throw strikes and could be sent right back down with a poor outing.
Boston’s Felix Doubront (9-4, 4.41 ERA) is the opposing pitcher. He’s an under-the-radar guy, quietly making his 18th start of the year. He averages a solid nine strikeouts per nine innings and has been a bit unlucky with a .307 Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP).
Don Best’s White likes the stuff of the 24-year-old Venezuelan lefty. He has a 93 mph fastball and his curve checks in at 77 mph. Doubront can really keep hitters off-balance when he’s on his game and Boston is 4-1 in his last five starts, scoring 8.4 runs per game to offset a 4.55 ERA.
Note the ‘over’ is 5-0 in Doubront’s (6.35 ERA) last five home starts.
There is a key injury note for the Red Sox. Slugger David Ortiz is expected to be out at least through Wednesday with an Achilles injury. The affable Dominican is having a monster year with 23 homers and a 1.024 OPS.
Ortiz at least is missing a southpaw, although he’s hit those this year as well (.976 OPS). Expect to see a right-handed bat in his place to mitigate his absence. The Red Sox are already down one key player with second baseman Dustin Pedroia on the DL.
Boston also added outfielder Carl Crawford to the lineup on Monday for the first time this year. He went 1-for-3 from the plate and added a walk, batting in the No. 2 spot behind Jacoby Ellsbury (also a recent injury return).