Series Preview: Boston Red Sox vs. Chicago Cubs 4/26-4/28

Series Preview: Boston Red Sox vs. Chicago Cubs 4/26-4/28

The Boston Red Sox will take on the Chicago Cubs this weekend.  The Red Sox are coming off a series loss to the Guardians, while the Cubs are coming off a series sweep over the Astros.

Boston Red Sox (14-12) vs. Chicago Cubs (16-9)

Game 1:

Date: Friday, April 26
Time: 7:10 pm EST
Broadcast: NESN

Game 2:

Date: Saturday, April 27
Time: 4:10 pm EST
Broadcast: NESN

Game 3:

Date: Sunday, April 28
Time: 7:10 pm EST
Broadcast: NESN

Probable Starting Pitchers

Game 1: Kutter Crawford (1-0, 0.66 ERA) vs. Shota Imanaga (3-0, 0.84 ERA)

Crawford gets the series opener, he is 1-0 with a league-leading 0.66 ERA, a 2.28 FIP, a 0.98 WHIP, and 30 strikeouts in 27.1 innings. His last start came against the Pirates going six innings giving up one run on seven hits; he walked three and struck out six. In his career against the Cubs, he’s made one start going six innings giving up no runs on one hit; he walked four and struck out nine picking up the win. Imanaga gets the ball for the Cubs, and he is 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA, a 2.08 FIP, a 0.75 WHIP, and 21 strikeouts in 21. 1 innings. In his last start against the Marlins, he went six innings giving up three runs, two of which were earned and the only earned runs he’s given up this season, he gave up five hits; he didn’t issue a walk and struck out five. He’s never faced the Red Sox before.

Game 2: Josh Winckowski (1-1, 4.20 ERA) vs. TBD

 Winckowski will make his ninth appearance of the season, but it will be his second start, he is 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA, a 3.42 FIP, a 1.80 WHIP, and 18 strikeouts in 15 innings. In his first start against the Pirates, he went 3.1 innings giving up one run on three hits; he didn’t issue a walk and struck out one. In his career against the Cubs, he is 0-1 in two appearances posting a 1.29 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP, and seven strikeouts in seven innings. The Cubs haven’t announced a starter for this one yet.

Game 3: Tanner Houck (3-2, 1.65 ERA) vs. Jordan Wicks (1-2, 4.70 ERA)

Houck this season is 3-2 with a 1.65 ERA, a 2.24 FIP, a 0.98 WHIP, and 32 strikeouts in 32.2 innings. His last start against the Guardians he went six innings giving up two runs on five hits; he walked three and struck out four. Houck in his career against the Cubs has made two appearances posting a 4.50 ERA, a 1.50 WHIP, and four strikeouts in two innings. Wicks will go for the Cubs this season he is 1-2 with a 4.70 ERA, a 3.29 FIP, a 1.52 WHIP, and 28 strikeouts in 23 innings. His last start came against the Astros going six innings giving up two runs on five hits; he didn’t issue a walk and struck out four. He has never faced the Red Sox in his career.

Boston Red Sox vs. Chicago Cubs Leaders

Red Sox:

AVG – Jarren Duran – .255
HR – Tyler O’Neill – 7
RBI – Connor Wong – 11
IP – Tanner Houck – 32.2
ERA – Kutter Crawford – 0.66
K – Tanner Houck – 32

Cubs:

AVG – Nico Hoerner – .300
HR – Michael Busch – 6
RBI – Cody Bellinger – 17
IP – Javier Assad – 27.0
ERA – Shota Imanaga – 0.84
K – Jordan Wicks – 28

Boston Red Sox vs. Chicago Cubs Numbers

Red Sox

AVG: .237 (20)
OPS: .716 (11)
R: 116 (12)
HR: 33 (2)
ERA: 2.60 (1)
K: 229 (8)
WHIP: 1.13 (3)

Cubs

AVG: .245 (14)             
OPS:  .738 (7)
R: 133 (7)
HR: 28 (6)
ERA: 3.82 (12)
K: 217 (17)
WHIP: 1.26 (14)

Wrap Up

The Red Sox have a tough test this weekend against a red-hot Cubs team who have won three in a row and five of their last seven. They outscored the Astros 14-6. Tonight’s game will feature two pitchers with the best ERAs in baseball. Crawford is at the top with Imanaga third in the league. As long as the Red Sox defensively don’t make mistakes they have been one of the best teams in baseball but when they commit even just one error things don’t go well. If they can play mistake-free baseball this weekend they should come out on top in this series. They’ll also have somewhat of a relatively normal lineup come Saturday with Rafael Devers expected to be back at third base which will allow Masataka Yoshida to return to the lineup however the burning question is who sits with Rob Refsnyder and Wilyer Abreu hot and you have to keep Jarren Duran and Tyler O’Neill in the lineup so it’s a little bit of a log jam as things stand right now but having depth in that aspect is a good problem to have and could benefit the Red Sox in the long run but first things first they have to take two of three from the Cubs at the very least and reverse the 3-7 start at Fenway Park.

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