Braves-Red Sox Preview
Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz said he’s tired of
the negative publicity the team receives.
There’s not much negative that can be said about the Red Sox’s
Boston looks to match a season high with a sixth consecutive
victory Friday night when the Atlanta Braves make their first visit
to Fenway Park in three years.
Before the Red Sox (36-33) completed a three-game sweep of Miami
with Thursday’s 6-5 victory, Ortiz fired back at a recent report
that said the team’s clubhouse is “toxic.”
“I don’t know, man, I’m just tired of dealing with the drama
here,” he told the Red Sox’s official website. “… It seems like
everything that goes on around here is like one of those Congress
decisions that will affect the whole nation. It’s not like that,
man. This is baseball. We’re supposed to have fun, to have our
performance out there at the highest level.”
Ortiz has been doing that, batting .375 with four homers and 11
RBIs to help Boston win seven of eight following a 1-7 skid.
The Red Sox, who won six straight from April 23-28, have an
opportunity to move a season-best four games above .500 after
rookie Will Middlebrooks homered for the second straight game and
drove in four runs.
“I love to see guys growing and learning and excelling at the
same time,” manager Bobby Valentine said of Middlebrooks, Daniel
Nava and Ryan Kalish, who sparked a three-run, eighth-inning rally.
“It’s, I guess, a perfect combination.”
The Red Sox will try to post their first six-game interleague
winning streak since June 15-20, 2010, with Jon Lester (4-4, 4.53
ERA) on the hill.
The left-hander is looking to build off his first win in five
starts, a 4-3 victory at Wrigley Field on Saturday when he gave up
three runs – all coming on a Luis Valbuena homer – in 6 2-3
Lester, 1-2 with a 5.98 ERA in seven starts at Fenway Park this
season, will try to avoid the long ball Friday when he faces the
Braves for the first time getting his first win in his second major
league start, a 4-1 victory at Atlanta on June 16, 2006.
Jason Heyward gets his first look at Red Sox pitching after
hitting two of the Braves’ season-best five homers in Wednesday’s
10-5 road win over the New York Yankees.
Heyward is batting .400 (10 for 25) during a seven-game hitting
streak. The team is 9-2 when he has two or more hits.
“We’re really, really good when Jason’s swinging the bat well,”
catcher David Ross said.
The Braves (37-32) could use a good outing from Friday’s
scheduled starter Jair Jurrjens (0-2, 9.37 ERA), who is scheduled
to make his first appearance since April 23.
Sent down to Triple-A Gwinnett following four poor outings, the
right-hander is back in the rotation – at least for now – with
Brandon Beachy out for the season following Thursday’s Tommy John
“This could be a big pickup if (Jurrjens) goes back to the form
he had last year (when he made the All-Star team),” manager Fredi
Gonzalez told the Braves’ official website.
Jurrjens is 3-1 with a 1.34 ERA in eight career interleague
starts. His only defeat against an AL team while pitching for the
Braves was a 4-1 home loss to Boston on June 26, 2009. Five days
earlier, the right-hander did not earn a decision after lasting 6
1-3 innings in a 6-5 loss at Fenway Park – Atlanta’s last game in
Ortiz hit a two-run shot off Jurrjens in that game and is 3 for
6 with two homers lifetime against the right-hander.