BOSTON RED SOX NOTES:
STATE OF THE SOX: The Red Sox have lost 4 consecutive games, and 5 of their last 6…They have only lost 5 straight games once this season, from 6/24-29. The Sox are 13-18 in their last 31 games, beginning 7/29, after going an MLB-best 16-5 from 6/30-7/28. At 69-65 (.515), Boston is tied with Arizona and Minnesota for MLB’s 13th-best record.
SLUGGING SOX: The Red Sox Wednesday snapped an 18-game streak with at least one home run (31 total HR)…It was the 4th-longest streak in franchise history (previous: 19 games, 8-7-30/2019). BOS is the 6th team this season to homer in as many as 18 consecutive games, joining ATL (28 G), CIN (22), TB (22), LAA (19), and MIN (18). Boston has hit 25 HR in their last 14 games since 8/17, 3rd-most in the AL over that span (NYY-27, SEA-26). The Sox homered in 26 of their 28 August games, after homering in only 16 of their previous 28 games.
SERIES BUSINESS: The Red Sox are 1-0-1 in their last 2 road series (3-0 at NYY, 2-2 at HOU) after losing each of their previous 4 since 7/17-19. At 22-18-3 in series play overall, they’ve matched their series win total from 2022 (22-24-6). At 9-9-3 on the road, they’re one series shy of tying their 2022 road series win total (10-14-2). Boston has 9 series left to play in 2023, 5 on the road.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: 18 of the Red Sox’ remaining 28 games will be against teams that currently have a winning record (BAL-7, TB-5, TEX-3, TOR-3). BOS is 36-39 against teams with a current record of .500 or better, and 33-26 against teams below .500.
SOX & ROYALS: The Sox won 3 of the 4 games played vs. the Royals at Fenway Park from 8/7-10…Boston is 8-5 at Kauffman Stadium since the start of 2018, but have lost each of the last 2 series played at the venue. The Red Sox went 3-4 against Kansas City in 2022… They are 22-9 vs. the Royals since the start of 2018. With at least one win in the 3-game series, Boston would secure the season series vs. KC for the 5th time in the last 6 years (since 2018).
NO TIME TO REST: Wednesday concluded the Red Sox’ stretch of 16 consecutive days with a game, going 7-9 over that span…It also completed a stretch of 32 games in 34 days (7/28-8/30). The Sox begin a 6-game road trip today (3 at KC, 3 at TB). There are only 3 off-days remaining on their schedule (9/7, 9/21, and 9/25)…The Sox will play 28 games in 31 days to finish out the season.
ON THE OFFENSIVE: The Red Sox lead MLB in doubles (291)…Among AL teams, they rank 2nd in AVG (.265), and XBH (465), and rank 3rd in OBP (.331), SLG (.438) and OPS .769). The Sox have recorded double-digit hits in 9 of their last 14 games, collecting at least 9 hits in 11 of those 14.
RISPY BUSINESS: With RISP, Boston ranks 2nd in MLB in hits (330), 4th in AVG (.279) and 5th in OBP (.355). With RISP and 0 or 1 out, they own an AL-best .300 AVG. BOS has gone 5-for-27 (.185 AVG) with RISP in their last 4 games, compared to 19-for-54 (.352) in the previous 4.
SCORING IN BUNCHES: The Red Sox have scored multiple runs in an inning at least once in 16 of their last 17 games (27 multi-run innings in that time)…Their 15 straight games with a multi-run inning from 8/13-29 marked their longest such streak since April 2018 (15 games, 4/2-20). Only 3 teams have had a longer streak this season: ATL (2x, 27 G and 22 G), TEX (22 G), and PHI (17 G). Since 6/1, they are 29-4 in games when they score 3+ runs in at least 1 inning.
HIGH FIVE: The Red Sox are 56-9 (.862) when scoring 5+ runs, the 2nd-best record in MLB behind SEA (57-8, .877). They’ve scored fewer than 5 runs in 4 of their last 6 games, after doing so in just 3 of their previous 11. Since 6/14, the Sox are 29-3 when scoring 5+ runs.
LOCK IT DOWN: Boston owns MLB’s best record when leading after 6 innings (53-3, .946)…In 2022, they ranked 18th in MLB when leading after 6 (63-10, .863). The Sox rank 2nd in MLB in save % (76.5; 39-for-51), after ranking 24th last season (57.4; 39-for-68).
CLOSING ACT: Kenley Jansen has converted each of his last 20 save opportunities since 5/20, MLB’s 2nd-longest active streak behind TOR’s Jordan Romano (21). Since 6/9, Chris Martin has allowed only 1 run over his last 30 outings (26.2 IP)…He leads MLB with a 0.34 ERA in that span (min. 20.0 IP).
TONIGHT’S STARTER: 65 JAMES PAXTON – LHP
W-L ERA G GS IP ER HR BB SO WHIP AVG
2023 7-4 3.99 18 18 94.2 42 16 31 101 1.26 .242
CAREER 64-37 3.63 155 155 849.1 343 97 262 932 1.22 .239
Has allowed 10 ER in his last 2 starts (8.1 IP, 10.80 ERA), after giving up only 9 ER in his previous 5 (27.1 IP, 2.96 ERA). Owns a 3.16 ERA at home (15 ER/42.2 IP) and a 4.67 ERA on the road (27 ER/52.0 IP). In 10 career starts vs. the Royals, is 4-0 with a 1.51 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and only 1 HR allowed (47.2 IP, 8 ER, 59 SO, 6 BB). Among the 355 pitchers to make at least 8 starts vs. KC all time, Paxton ranks 1st in ERA (1.51), WHIP (0.90), and SO/BB ratio (9.83). Has allowed 0 runs in his last 21.1 IP against the Royals, spanning 4 starts. In 4 starts at Kauffman Stadium, is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA (21.1 IP, 8 ER, 20 SO, 3 BB).
KANSAS CITY ROYALS NOTES:
SKID HITS SIX: The Royals suffered their 6th straight loss Wednesday night as they were swept by the Pirates in a 4-1 decision…the lone bright spot was Bobby Witt Jr., who accounted for the Royals only run on a solo home run in the 4th inning, his 27th of the season…Witt Jr., 23, enters tonight 3 home runs shy of becoming the first player in franchise history to record a 30-homer, 30-steal season…the Royals were outscored 15-4 (-11) vs. the Pirates and were held to just 12 hits—8 singles—in 3 games while going 1-for-10 in scoring situations. Wednesday’s loss dropped them to 53 games under .500 (41-94) for the first time in franchise history. The Royals have lost 6 straight games—in which they’ve been outscored 40-13 (-27)—and are batting .169 (32-for-189) with 13 runs (2.2 runs per game), including 3 runs or fewer in each of the last 5 games.
ROSTER MOVES: The Royals announced several moves today as rosters expand to 28 active players for the month of September…outfielder Edward Olivares and right-handed pitcher James McArthur were recalled from Triple-A Omaha and infielder Nick Loftin (No. 12) was selected from Omaha…in a pair of corresponding moves, Brady Singer was placed on the Paternity List and right hander Joe Barlow was designated for assignment. Loftin will make his Major League debut tonight as the designated hitter, and will become the seventh Royal to make his Majors debut this season, following Austin Cox (May 4), Samad Taylor (June 17), James McArthur (June 28), Alec Marsh (June 30), John McMillon (Aug. 17) and Steven Cruz (Tuesday). Loftin will be the 54th different player to appear in a game with the Royals this season, which will break a tie with 2003 for the 4th most in franchise history, trailing only 2004 (58), 2006 (55) and 2022 (55).
REHABBING ROYALS: Nick Pratto went 0-for-3 and played 7.0 innings at first base last night in his 1st rehab game of his current assignment with Triple-A Omaha…his first assignment began on Aug. 17, but he was returned a week later due to a setback…he was placed on the 10-day Injured List on July 28 with a groin strain. Brad Keller allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and 1 walk with 4 strikeouts in 1.2 innings Tuesday night with Double-A Northwest Arkansas…it was his 6th appearance—4th at Double-A—on his current rehab assignment as he works his way back from a right shoulder impingement that has sidelined him since mid May.
SOX STREAK: The Royals continue this 9-game, 10-day homestand tonight with the 1st of 3 games vs. the Red Sox…starting Monday, the White Sox will be in town for a 3-game set, including a 1:10 p.m. start on Memorial Day, followed by a pair of 6:40 p.m. CT starts next Tuesday and Wednesday…the Royals will enjoy an off day next Thursday, which they’ll use to travel to Toronto to begin their penultimate road trip of the season. This marks the third-to-last homestand of the season, including a 6-game stay from Sept. 15-20 vs. Houston and Cleveland and a 3-game series vs. the Yankees to end the regular season from Sept. 29-Oct. 1…including tonight, there are only 15 home games remaining on the Royals 2023 schedule. The Royals lost 3 of 4 to the Red Sox in Boston last month, despite being outscored by only 1 run in the series…the Royals won the season series vs. the Red Sox last season (4-3), but they’ll have to sweep this weekend’s series at Kauffman Stadium to clinch the season series for the second consecutive year. Royals starters have recorded a quality start in 5 of their last 8 games vs. the Red Sox dating back to Aug. 7, 2022, a stretch in which they’ve have pitched to a 2.82 ERA (14 ER in 44.2 IP) and .223 opponents’ average (35-for-157), and only 10 of the 35 hits they’ve allowed have gone for extra bases (.059 OPS).
30/30 VISION: Bobby Witt Jr. hit his 27th homer of the season Wednesday night, which ranks tied for 6th in the American League behind Shohei Ohtani (44), Luis Robert Jr. (35), Adolis García (32), Rafael Devers (29) and Aaron Judge (29)…he also ranks tied for 4th in the Majors with 38 stolen bases, behind Ronald Acuña Jr. (62), Esteury Ruiz (53) and Corbin Carroll (41)…Witt Jr. is only 3 homers shy of becoming the first player in Royals history to record 30 homers and 30 steals in a season, and he would be only the sixth player in Major League history with a 30/30 campaign in his age-23 season (or younger)…the five that have done this include Bobby Bonds in 1969, José Canseco in 1988, Álex Rodríguez in 1998, Mike Trout in 2012 and Acuña Jr. in 2019.
SALVY SPLASHES: Despite going just 6-for-40 with 3 RBI since the start of the last trip, and being homerless in his last 13 games, Royals Captain Salvador Perez is approaching several notable milestones…sitting on 19 home runs this year, his next will make 2023 his seventh season with at least 20 home runs, which will break a tie with Mike Sweeney for 2nd most in Royals history, trailing only Hall of Famer George Brett, who had eight…Salvy is also just 11 hits shy of matching Sweeney for 7th place on the Royals all-time hits list at 1,398. Ê Perez, who is the starting first baseman tonight, is 25.0 innings caught shy of 10,000.0 for his career.
THE RUNNING ROYALS: In 44 games since the All-Star break, the Royals lead the Majors with 54 stolen bases, which are 6 more than the Nationals (48), who rank 2nd, and 13 more than the Mariners (41) for the American League lead…after stealing only 40 bags in 56 games through the end of May, the Royals rank 2nd in the Majors and lead the American League with 90 steals in 79 games since June 1…for the season, they rank 4th in the Majors with 130 stolen bases, trailing only Cincinnati (157), Tampa Bay (141) and Arizona (135). Nine different Royals players have at least 5 steals this year, which trails only the Reds, who have 11 players with at least 5 steals…Kansas City’s leading base stealer is Bobby Witt Jr., who ranks tied for 4th in the Majors with 38 steals behind Ronald Acuña Jr. (62), Esteury Ruiz (53) and Corbin Carroll (41).
TONIGHT’S STARTERS: RHP JORDAN LYLES (3-15, 6.51)
JORDAN LYLES is making his 26th start of the season and 240th start (347th appearance) of his career tonight vs. the Red Sox…he was originally selected by Houston in the 1st round (38th overall) of the 2008 Draft out of Hartsville High School (S.C.), and signed a two-year contract with the Royals on Dec. 28, 2022.
LAST TIME OUT: Lyles suffered a 15-2 loss Saturday afternoon at Seattle, in which he allowed a season-high-tying 7 earned runs on 6 hits (3 HR) and 3 walks with 4 strikeouts across 3.0 innings…Lyles retired six of the first eight batters he faced through 2.0 innings, but surrendered a solo home run to Josh Rojas to lead off
the 3rd inning, followed by a grand slam to Teoscar Hernández and a 2-run blast to Mike Ford…Jordan struck out Rojas to end the frame end exited trailing 7-0.
YOU COMPLETE ME: Lyles start on Aug. 20 at Wrigley Field marked his 5th career complete game, following Aug. 9 at Boston, May 9 vs. the White Sox, Sept. 21, 2022
vs. Detroit (with Baltimore) and Sept. 30, 2012 at Milwaukee (with Houston)…his 3 complete games this season lead the American League and are tied for most in the Majors with Miami’s Sandy Alcantara…Lyles is the first Royal with 3 complete games in a season since Jeremy Guthrie also had 3 in 2013…his 4 complete games since 2022 rank tied for 3rd in the Majors, trailing Alcantara (9) and Framber Valdez (5).
EIGHT AND OUT: Jordan has pitched 4 games this season in which he has thrown at least 8.0 innings and received a losing decision, and is the lone pitcher in the Majors with more than 1 such outing…he’s the first pitcher with 4 such games in a season since David Price (4) in 2013, is the first Royal with 4 such games since Jose Rosado (4) in 1999 and is the first Royals right hander since Kevin Appier (4) in 1996.
I GOT 5 ON IT: Lyles has completed at least 5.0 innings in 22 of his 25 starts this season, but had his 15-game streak of at least 5.0 innings snapped in his last outing…his 15 straight starts of 5.0 innings pitched from May 20-Aug. 20, is the longest such streak by a Royals pitcher since Brad Keller pitched 5.0 innings in 15 consecutive starts from May 7-July 21, 2021…Lyles is one of nine AL pitchers to have pitched 5.0 innings in 15 consecutive starts this season.
TROUBLE WITH THE LONG BALL: He has allowed at least 1 home run in 18 of his 25 starts this season for a total of 33 HR in 142.1 innings, which leads the American League and ranks 2nd most in the Majors behind Lance Lynn (36)…his 33 home runs allowed are the most by a Royal since Bruce Chen (33) in 2012…Lyles has allowed multiple home runs in 11 of his 25 starts this season, which is the most such games in the Majors and tied for the most such games in franchise history.
THE ONE BAD INNING: Lyles allowed 7 runs in the 3rd inning in his last start and has allowed at least 3 runs in a single frame in 14 of his 25 starts (15 instances)…Lyles has been charged with 61 runs (58 ER) in those 15 frames for a 34.80 ERA, which accounts for more than half of the 103 earned runs he’s allowed this year…if you set aside those 15 frames, Jordan has recorded a 3.18 ERA in his remaining 127.1 innings