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02 Jul 2018

Boston Red Sox Vs. Washington Nationals: Lineups, preview, and prediction (July 2, 2018)

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Rick Porcello (RHP) Vs. Max Scherzer (RHP)

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Projected lineups

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 Who's hot, who's not

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 Prediction

(Photo credit: Arturo Pardavila III)

The Red Sox head to the nation's capital on the back of a 2-1 series loss in the Bronx. Boston lost the final game on Sunday a massive 11-1 as Luis Severino and the top of the Yankees order dominated. The Red Sox lineup managed just four hits all day as David Price was mauled. The Yankees hit four homers off the Boston starter and walked away with an easy win.

Washington are also coming off a weekend disappointment after they dropped three of four against the Phillies. They lost on Sunday in 13 innings. Adam Eaton knocked in two runs on a single in the top of the fifth to give them a 3-0 lead, but in the bottom of the inning the Phillies lineup walked in a run, hit a sac fly, and then a single to tie it all up as a solid outing from Gio Gonzalez went south in a hurry. Both bullpens locked up the game until pinch-hitter Andrew Knapp broke the tie with a walk-off homer off Justin Miller.

Rick Porcello (RHP) Vs. Max Scherzer (RHP)

Porcello is having a solid season for the Red Sox, but in recent starts he has been very hit and miss. The former Cy Young winner sandwiched a seven-inning shutout between two four-run performances. While his season-long numbers look fine, his up and down nature make him a frustrating pitcher to watch.

Facing Porcello is his old rotation-mate from Detroit, the three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. The Nationals ace has been in brilliant form all year. He is fourth in the Majors in ERA, first in WHIP, fourth in innings pitched and first in strikeouts. He comes into today on a string of strong performances. His last game was a seven-inning, one-run loss against the Rays, but he finished June with a 2.31 ERA and 45 K's in 35 innings, albeit with a 1-3 record thanks to a lack of run support.

Projected lineups

Red Sox Lineup Home Runs Batting Average On-Base Percentage
Betts, RF20.339.430
Benintendi, CF13.284.367
Martinez, LF25.324.391
Moreland, 1B11.286.353
Bogaerts, SS12.274.334
Devers, 3B14.248.291
Nunez, 2B5.250.283
Vazquez, C3.217.255
Porcello, P0N/AN/A
Nationals Lineup Home Runs Batting Average On-Base Percentage
Eaton, RF2.300.370
Turner, SS9.274.357
Harper, CF20.216.366
Rendon, 3B11.293.359
Soto, LF8.310.416
Murphy, 2B0.182.224
Reynolds, 1B7.245.311
Severino, C0.170.258
Scherzer, P0.250.289

Who's hot, who's not

JD Martinez and Mitch Moreland have been in fine form for Boston as usual. Both are hitting over .300 in the last two weeks and have four homers between them, but the big boost to the lineup has come from Rafael Devers. The third baseman has four homers by himself in the last two weeks and a .327 average. With Mookie Betts playing well but not brilliantly, Devers has been really key of late.

Anthony Rendon has been a monster for the Nationals lately. He has five homers, 12 RBI, and a .393 average in the last two weeks. He has been backed up in average by Trea Turner and Michael Taylor, who are hitting .345 and .324 respectively. Unfortunately Bryce Harper has been in poor form recently, with just one homer and a .196 average in the same time span.

Prediction

It is tough to ever pick against the Nationals when Scherzer is on the mound, but this Red Sox lineup has enough quality to score on him. Porcello can certainly contain the Nationals on his day, but it is a coin flip if he is on form or not. The extra innings last night will have done the Nationals no favors in protecting Scherzer should he get into difficulty, so for that reason I'm going to take the Red Sox by two here, but don't be surprised if they get shutdown by the National League's best pitcher.