After a nice four day All-Star break, the Red Sox will resume their season tonight as the Kansas City Royals visit Fenway Park for the first time this season. Fresh off a complete game shutout of the Houston Astros, Clay Buchholz will toe the rubber for Boston tonight, while James Shields is set to pitch for Kansas City. In his second season with the Royals, Shields hasn’t been the staff ace that he has been in the past, but still boasts a respectable 3.65 ERA over 20 starts. In his career against the Red Sox, Shields has started 25 games and holds a 9-13 record and a 4.36 ERA. On the flip side of things, Buchholz has faced Kansas City 5 times in his career, and possesses a 2.20 ERA in 32 innings pitched. The Red Sox and Royals will follow Friday’s game with match-ups of Rubby De La Rosa vs. Danny Duffy on Saturday, and Jon Lester vs. Yordano Ventura on Sunday.
- Despite recent rumors linking the Red Sox to Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, Philadelphia is not inclined to move their ace. While some viewed Boston’s interest in Hamels as a contingency plan to Jon Lester’s inevitable trip to the free agent market, it didn’t make much sense for the Red Sox to sacrifice the top tier prospects to acquire the 30 year old. (Source: Philies currently not looking to deal Cole Hamels)
- In a season marred by back and hamstring injuries, Shane Victorino hasn’t lost hope that he can help the Red Sox pull out of the depths of the AL East. The 33 year old took a step closer to rejoining his Red Sox teammate, as he participated in a full 9 innings at AAA Pawtucket on Thursday night. Victorino went 2-4 in his rehab outing, collecting 2 singles and 2 runs scored. (Shane Victorino is finally close to rejoining the Red Sox)
- Xander Bogaerts offensive struggles can be blamed on a number of factors, but a lack of effort isn’t one of them. The self-proclaimed “baseball freak” has received high praise for his pregame preparations, as well as his ability to study film. John Farrell believes that once the 21 year old rookie learns how to translate preparation to in-game situations, Bogaerts true talent will surface. (After the break, rested Xander Bogaerts hoping for a turnaround)
- While the Red Sox contract talks with Jon Lester haven’t gone as smoothly as either side would like, the 30 year old holds no hard feelings towards Boston. Lester’s impending free agency has become a daily news story around Boston these days, with most of the attention being placed on the Red Sox front office’s unwillingness to give the southpaw what he’s worth. (Lester: “No hard feelings” in contract talks)
- On the heels of the All-Star break, ESPN prospect guru Keith Law compiled his list list of midseason top 50 prospects. The Red Sox were represented on Law’s list by Portland battery mates, Henry Owens and Blake Swihart. Owens, a lanky left-handed pitcher, ranked number 23 on Law’s list. While the right-handed slugging catcher Swihart was placed at number 27. (Keith Law’s midseason top 50 prospects list features Henry Owens, Blake Swihart)
- Tweet of the day: Simply put, yes. You don’t need to write a whole article to figure out the Red Sox price for Lester.