After dropping the series to Chicago, the Red Sox will head out west for a crucial three-game set against the Mariners. Entering play on Monday, Boston is tied with the Blue Jays for the first Wild Card spot, with the Yankees one game back. The Athletics and Mariners both sit three games out. Seattle enters play at 6-4 in their last ten games, looking to claw their way into the postseason.
Game 1 (Monday, 10:10 PM ET)
The lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez (11-8, 5.15 ERA) will open the series for the Red Sox. Prior to his last outing against Tampa Bay, it had seemed as though E-Rod had gotten himself back on track. He had posted consecutive quality starts for the first time since July 2nd, allowing just three earned runs in 13 innings of work in two outings. However, on September 7th, Rodriguez imploded yet again. He surrendered six earned runs in just 3.2 innings pitched, giving up eight hits (including a pair of round-trippers). Rodriguez will once again be looking to find a stretch of consistency when he takes on Seattle.
Starting for the Mariners in Game 1 will be Logan Gilbert (5-5, 5.10 ERA). In 20 starts this season, Gilbert, a 2018 first-round pick, has punched out 106 batters in 95.1 innings of work. On September 1st, Gilbert silenced a potent Houston lineup, tossing five shutout innings and allowing just four hits. However, he has struggled in his last seven games, as shown by his 7.09 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in that span.
Game 2 (Tuesday, 10:10 PM ET)
Nathan Eovaldi (10-8, 3.57 ERA) will take the ball on Tuesday night for the Red Sox. After struggling in the weeks following the All-Star break, Eovaldi has proven to be back to his dominant self. In his last six starts, he has pitched to a sparkling ERA of 1.94, allowing just eight earned runs in 37.2 innings pitched. In that span, “Nasty Nate” has struck out 47 batters while walking just six. Despite his recent brilliance, Eovaldi hasn’t earned a win since August 11th. If he is on his game, the Sox will need to take advantage and score early and often.
Tyler Anderson (6-9, 4.20 ERA) will be on the bump for Seattle. Anderson has struggled for much of this season, but he has posted a steady 3.66 ERA in his last seven starts. The Oregon product, who was acquired by the Mariners from Pittsburgh prior to the trade deadline, has pitched to an improved 3.83 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP since joining his new team.
Game 3 (Wednesday, 4:10 PM ET)
Boston’s starter for Game 3 is listed as TBD (to be decided), but it will likely end up being the righthander Tanner Houck (0-4, 3.54 ERA). While Houck is still looking for his first win of 2021, he has been solid for the Red Sox when called upon. The Mizzou alum has punched out 63 batters in 53.1 innings while posting a 1.20 WHIP. However, Houck has posted a 4.31 ERA in his last seven games, allowing 30 hits in that span and walking ten. The Sox will look for at least five quality innings from Houck.
Marco Gonzalez (8-5, 4.03 ERA) will start in the series finale for the Mariners. While Gonzalez has had an underwhelming season, he has posted a dominant 2.12 ERA since August 1st, earning five wins in his past eight starts. In that span, he has seen his season ERA decrease by 1.12 runs.
Keys to the Series
The Red Sox desperately need to find offensive consistency. While they mustered nine runs in Game Three against the White Sox, they have scored three or less in three of their last four games. The pitching staff hasn’t excelled, but even quality starts won’t win games when the offense doesn’t come out swinging.
The Sox have fallen to 44-44 on the season against teams above .500. The Seattle series gives them the chance to prove that they can dominate winning teams, which they’ve struggled with since their fall from first place.
(Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)