Diamondbacks-Red Sox preview
BOSTON — After dropping two of three games to the middling New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox can ill afford a sub-par weekend against the bottom-dwelling Arizona Diamondbacks.
Boston held on for a 5-3 win in the series opener against its archrival, but was blown out by New York 9-4 on Wednesday and fell victim to the Yankees' come-from-behind, 4-2 win Thursday.
Despite recording nine hits in the series finale, the Red Sox could only muster runs on an RBI single and an RBI double from Hanley Ramirez, and they left nine runners on base.
“Once again, with men in scoring position, that has been a little bit of a missed opportunity at this point,” Boston manager John Farrell said.
Making matters worse, Ramirez collided with Gary Sanchez at first base during the Yankees catcher's eight-inning single.
Ramirez stayed in the game after being checked out but eventually was pulled as a precaution.
“He's sore, after the collision it was the impact of the ground that the lower back jarred,” Farrell said. “Wasn't going to chance it with any kind of violence in his swings.”
The loss dropped the Red Sox to 61-52, marking the first time they are fewer than 10 games over .500 since July 8.
Boston now trails the American League East-leading Toronto Blue Jays by three games, and it holds a half-game lead over the Detroit Tigers for the final AL wild card.
Arizona, meanwhile, has nothing left to play for but pride, which it certainly found during a 9-0 rout of the reining National League champion New York Mets on Thursday.
The last-place Diamondbacks (48-66) trail the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants by a whopping 17 games and are 12 games out of the NL wild-card hunt.
However, that didn't stop them from earning a three-game sweep over the Mets in which Arizona stole 13 bases.
“I think we were just aggressive,” Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said. “We got in good situations; the score allowed us to do that a lot.”
A couple of struggling southpaws are scheduled to toe the rubber Friday as Arizona's Patrick Corbin (4-11, 5.37 ERA) counters Boston's David Price (9-8, 4.34 ERA).
Corbin is 0-5 with a 7.09 ERA in his past eight starts, and he hasn't won since June 21 against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The former All-Star is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in one career start against the Red Sox, in which he allowed three runs on eight hits and struck out six in 2013.
Ramirez is 4-for-7 with two doubles and three walks against Corbin. No active Red Sox batter has hit a home run or driven in a run against the lefty.
Price will be making just his second start against the Diamondbacks. He pitched eight innings of two-run ball with 11 strikeouts in a victory in 2010.
Michael Bourn is 3-for-19 (.158) with a double and five strikeouts against Price.
Price also hasn't allowed a homer or an RBI to any current Arizona batter.
The former American League Cy Young Award winner is 6-3 with a 4.33 ERA at Fenway Park this season.