Talkin Sox with Dan

Where baseball fans gather for commonsensical, opinionated Red Sox banter.

Pre-game Notes 4/17/12 — Rangers vs. Red Sox

The Texas Rangers roll into town for a quick (and hot) two game set against the Olde Towne Team. Let’s get you greased for the first showdown.

  • Kevin Youkilis is back in the lineup for tonight’s game. He will obviously get a louder-than-normal ovation.
  • The Rangers are 8-2. They have represented the American League in the past two World Series. They’re good. I know it. You know it. They know it.
  • I liked it better when the Rangers were the team who could always hit, but couldn’t pitch to save their lives. I’m always down for a 13-8 win. Tonight will probably not feature that type of score.
  • Colby Lewis takes the bump for The Men of Nolan. He is a right handed pitcher who is quietly very good. So far on the young season, he is 1-0 and sports a smooth 1.42 ERA.
  • Jon Lester toes the rubber for the Red Sox. He is 0-1 with a 2.40 ERA. He has pitched against two offensively talented in teams in their respective neck of the woods. Detroit and Toronto tote stout lineups, but the Rangers may have them trumped, top to bottom. Another daunting task for Lester who looks to assert himself as a top tier pitcher. A strong performance against a Texas team that is playing well would help.
  • I hate (and I mean white hot hate) all of the bullstuff that occurs off of the field. I hate beer and chicken. I hate Bobby Valentine vs. Kevin Youkilis. I’m a fan of the game and the Red Sox because of nights like tonight. Beautiful weather. Two good teams. Two good pitchers.
  • I know it’s because Lewis is a righty, but I really like seeing Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz hitting back to back. Ortiz is mashing the ball right now and Gonzalez has great career numbers against Lewis. Keep an eye on the big dogs in the middle tonight.

Key to the game for the Red Sox: Lester’s ability to throw strikes consistently. If he has two walks or less, he will put his team in an excellent position to win. He has a tendency to nibble. Texas has a lineup full of muscle, but I hate free passes. Make them earn it.

Key to the game for the Rangers: Rack up Lester’s pitch count. It may be redundant, but it’s true. Success for any team often hinges on its ability to get into the soft underbelly of the opponent’s bullpen. The Red Sox bullpen, especially in the middle innings, is extremely soft. Vicente Padilla and Scott Atchison are guys that I like having on my side, but if I’m Ron Washington, I would prefer my hitters facing one of them rather than Lester in the sixth inning of the tight game.

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