Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
BOSTON – The Boston Red Sox are riding a league-high six-game winning streak, while the back end of the rotation steps up to support an offense that is beginning to fire on all cylinders. The Red Sox will try to earn a three-game sweep and post a third consecutive shutout when they host the Seattle Mariners in the series finale on Sunday.
Rookie left-hander Brian Johnson was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to make a spot start on Saturday and ended up becoming the first Boston pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 1998 to fire a shutout in his Fenway Park debut when he scattered five hits over nine innings in a 6-0 triumph. That followed another solid start from Eduardo Rodriguez in Friday’s 3-0 series-opening win and an 11-strikeout effort from Drew Pomeranz that capped off a three-game sweep of the Texan Rangers on Thursday. “Their guy threw the ball over the plate. He threw strikes,” Seattle manager Scott Servais told reporters after Saturday’s loss. “I don’t want to take anything away from what he did. But we’re not swinging the bat very well. And the only way to get out of that, you have to fight and get a little ticked off and show up tomorrow with a little chip on your shoulder.” The Mariners, who have lost seven of their last eight games and scored one or no runs in each of those setbacks, will try to get the bats going against reigning Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello while righty Christian Bergman starts for Seattle.
TV: 1:35 p.m. ET, ROOT (Seattle), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners RH Christian Bergman (1-2, 6.30 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (3-5, 4.35)
Bergman is one of a few pitchers being forced into starting duty due to a slew of injuries to the rotation and is coming off a terrible outing at Washington on Tuesday. The 29-year-old was rocked for 10 runs on 14 hits – four homers – and did not notch a strikeout in four innings. Bergman, who is seeing the Red Sox for the first time in his career, struck out nine in 7 1/3 scoreless innings against Oakland to earn a win on May 17.
Porcello already owns more losses than he recorded during his 2016 Cy Young campaign (four) and has surrendered four earned runs in each of his last two outings. The New Jersey native was reached for five total runs and 11 hits against Texas on Tuesday but worked 6 1/3 innings and got enough run support to earn the win. Porcello suffered one of his four losses last season against Seattle and is 6-4 with a 3.69 ERA in 11 career starts versus the Mariners.
1. Red Sox 3B Pablo Sandoval (sprained right knee) could return on Monday.
2. Seattle sluggers Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz are a combined 0-for-16 in the series.
3. Johnson was optioned back to Pawtucket after his gem to make room for Boston LHP David Price (elbow), who is expected to make his season debut on Monday.