Red Sox-White Sox Preview
Brett Lawrie has homered in a career-high three consecutive games, and extending that streak could be difficult against knuckleballer Steven Wright.
Wright has been stellar in winning two straight starts for the Boston Red Sox, who open a three-game road series against Lawrie and the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
Lawrie went 3 for 3 in Sunday's 7-1 victory over Baltimore that capped a 5-2 trip. He drilled a solo homer for the third straight game and finished 6 for 14 in the four-game series.
''I'm just excited to contribute to the team, every time I step into the box I'm looking to help the team,'' Lawrie said.
The loss by Baltimore helped Boston (15-10) take over the AL East lead after its wild 8-7 home victory over the New York Yankees on Sunday night. The Red Sox have won seven of eight as they meet the Central leaders to begin a six-game trip.
“It's early, but it feels good. As long as you play good, you feel good,” slugger David Ortiz told the Red Sox's official website. “You just keep building up your confidence. We had a good April, and now we're going to try and have a good May. There's a lot of games left. I like what I see so far.”
Boston will start this series by sending Wright (2-2, 1.37 ERA) to the mound. He struck out a season-high eight in seven innings Wednesday and allowed one earned run in a 9-4 victory at Atlanta.
The right-hander yielded two runs in seven innings in his lone start versus Chicago in an 8-2 win July 30. Lawrie went 1 for 4 against him and is 1 for 9 against another knuckleballer, Toronto's R.A. Dickey.
Wright's presence means that backup catcher Ryan Hanigan will be in the lineup. Hanigan has seven passed balls in Wright's last two outings.
“Hannie has his hands full when we have Steven on the mound,” manager John Farrell said.
Regular starting catcher Christian Vasquez will be out of the lineup after he belted a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning Sunday.
It's unclear what other lineup changes the Red Sox will make as they face a left-handed starter for the third time in 2016. Chicago's Jose Quintana enters with 16 consecutive scoreless innings with lefties hitting .133 off him.
Quintana (3-1, 1.47) struck out 10 in six innings in Wednesday's 4-0 win at Toronto. He is 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA in five starts versus the Red Sox, limiting Ortiz to two hits in 12 at-bats.
Ortiz may sit as well as lefty-swinging Travis Shaw, who is 2 for 17 against southpaws and 0 for 3 versus Quintana. Boston has an AL-worst .204 average versus lefties.
White Sox slugger Jose Abreu is 11 for 26 during a six-game hit streak.
Chicago (18-8) may welcome back Avisail Garcia, who sat out the last two games with a strained right hamstring after going 8 for 18 in his previous five.
The White Sox took four of seven from the Red Sox last year.