Boston looks to continue its torrid hitting as it attempts to sweep a four-game road set from Chicago on Sunday in the final meeting of the season between the clubs.
The AL East-leading Red Sox (79-51) have outscored the White Sox 35-6 during the first three games of the series, producing 43 hits. Overall, Boston is hitting .339 while scoring 66 runs against Chicago this season to post a 6-1 record, with the lone loss coming in the first meeting, 4-2 on July 19.
Mike Lowell has been a key contributor to the Red Sox’s terrific production, going 9-for-14 (.643) with six RBIs so far in this series.
Lowell went 4-for-6 with two RBIs Saturday as Boston battered Chicago’s pitchers again, totaling 15 hits in a 14-2 victory, during which all of its runs came after the fifth inning. Boston’s fifth win in six games, which came a day after it swept a doubleheader from the White Sox (56-73), also gave the Red Sox 13 wins in their last 16 games at U.S. Cellular Field.
“This is the time of year to get on that run. You can’t coast through the season any more,” said Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, gave up three hits in seven shutout innings. “It’s like you have to leave the switch on right now.”
Boston remained 6 1/2 games ahead of the New York Yankees, who beat Detroit on Saturday. The Red Sox are 5-1 on a 10-game road trip, which concludes with a three-game set at Yankee Stadium that starts Tuesday.
The Red Sox are hitting .460 in this series against the White Sox’s struggling bullpen, which ranks among the worst in the majors with a 5.48 ERA. Now, Boston has a chance to produce double-digit runs in four consecutive games for the first time since June 1950.
“It’s not easy for me to come here and see this thing day in and day out,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said, adding he went to the field so many times to change relief pitchers in Boston’s eight-run eighth that he lost count.
“That’s embarrassing. Not a good feeling,” he said. “If I’m going to have this job, to feel this way every day, I’d rather be home because I have pride.”
Guillen hopes Javier Vazquez (11-6, 3.66 ERA), the team leader in wins and the only White Sox pitcher to beat Boston this season, can help Chicago halt a four-game slide that is part of a woeful 2-12 stretch.
Vazquez recorded Chicago’s lone win against the Red Sox this season on July 19, allowing two runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings. He has struggled against Lowell, though, allowing the third baseman to hit .302 against him with two home runs in 43 at-bats.
The right-hander has been one of the few bright spots for the White Sox recently, going 8-1 with a 3.09 ERA in his last 11 starts.
“Javy is throwing the ball well,” Guillen told the team’s official Web site. “Right now he is being real good. He’s staying away from the big innings. Staying with more confidence every day. When you have confidence and believe in yourself, that is the kind of thing you are going to do.”
The Red Sox will turn to Julian Tavarez (6-9, 5.01) in their effort to sweep four games at Chicago for the first time since August 1968. He’s making a spot start for Jon Lester, who was sent to Double-A Portland to make room for an extra left-handed reliever for the series.
Tavarez had a strong outing last Sunday, allowing two runs and two hits in six innings of a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 3.15 ERA in three career starts against the White Sox.