Braves vs. Red Sox: Live Stream, Injuries, Pitching Matchups and Fantasy Preview
Two of Major League Baseball's most inconsistent teams are prepared to battle as the Atlanta Braves pay a visit to the Boston Red Sox. It marks the last interleague series of the season for both sides.
The biggest problem for Atlanta has been uncharacteristically bad starting pitching. Instead of being the team's foundation like it has been so many times in the past, Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson are the Braves' only reliable starters. Neither will start in this series.
Boston has been dealing with similar problems to its rotation, but the larger concern is injuries. The most notable ones being to Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford, who would normally be two key cogs in the lineup. They need to get healthy by the All-Star break.
Let's take a look at all the vital information for the series, preview the first game and take a look at some of the key players as the Braves and Red Sox face off.
Which team will win the series?
When: Friday, June 22 at 7:10 p.m. ET
Where: Fenway Park in Boston, Mass.
Watch: Peachtree TV (Atlanta), NESN (Boston) or MLB Network (Regional)
Live Stream: MLB.tv
Injury Report (via CBS Sports)
Braves: Brandon Beachy (out, elbow)
Red Sox: Josh Beckett (out, shoulder), Scott Podsednik (out, groin), Ryan Sweeney (out, foot), Andrew Bailey (out, thumb), Carl Crawford (out, wrist/elbow) and Jacoby Ellsbury (out, shoulder)
Starting for Atlanta: Jair Jurrjens
Jurrjens returns to the major leagues after a brutal start forced the Braves to exile him to Triple-A to work out some of his issues. He made the All-Star Game last season, but was sporting a 9.37 ERA and 2.45 WHIP through four starts before his demotion.
He wasn't exactly mowing hitters down in the minors, either. The righty had a 5.18 ERA in 10 starts with opponents hitting .291 off him. The Braves didn't have much choice but to give him another chance because of Brandon Beachy's season-ending injury.
Since Jurrjens isn't a strikeout pitcher, he has to rely on command to force hitters to make weak contact. He just hasn't been able to do that this season and, unless something drastic changes, his struggles are going to continue.
Randall Delgado and Mike Minor are scheduled to start Games 2 and 3.
Starting for Boston: Jon Lester
Lester got off to a slow start of his own this season, mostly due to a lack of control leading to a high walk rate. He's started to figure things out, however, and has given up only four free passes over his last four starts.
He's proven in the past that he's one of the American League's best pitchers when he's on top of his game. Now that he's shown signs of progress, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him dominate for awhile to get him numbers back to normal levels.
In his only previous career start against Atlanta, Lester gave up one run in six innings while striking out five. With Jurrjens starting for the Braves, a similar performance tonight should be enough to put him in line for a win.
Franklin Morales and Clay Buchholz are scheduled to start Games 2 and 3.
Braves' Fantasy Studs
Heyward has been tearing the cover off the ball in June, which has helped him rebound from a forgettable May. So far this month, the former top prospect is hitting .351 with four home runs and six multi-hit games to help keep Atlanta's offense afloat.
It's numbers like those that made Heyward a valuable fantasy commodity during his rookie season. Owners have started to lose faith in him, however. If you're in a league where he was dropped during his May slump, now's the time to pick him up.
If it weren't for Bourn's success atop the Braves lineup, Atlanta would be in far worse shape. He's been the dynamic threat the Braves were hoping for when they traded for him last season. The speedster is hitting .310 and has swiped 18 bases. He's even set a career high in home runs already with six.
That unexpected power surge has helped Bourn become one of the most valuable fantasy players of the first half. The thing owners like more than anything else is his consistency. Speed doesn't slump, as the old saying goes, and he's proving it.
Red Sox's Fantasy Studs
Which player will have the best series?
Middlebrooks' arrival in May provided the Red Sox lineup with a much-needed boost as the team plays the waiting game with some of its biggest stars. He's currently carrying a .903 OPS, which would rank 11th in the AL if he had the at-bats to qualify, and crushed eight homers.
He's played so well that Boston decided to shift Adrian Gonzalez to the outfield to make sure he didn't pushed out of the lineup. Any fantasy owner who took a chance on him early has been rewarded nicely. And he's shown no signs of slowing down.
A lot of things have changed around the Red Sox organization in recent years, but Ortiz remains one of the pillars. At 36, the slugger is on pace to have one of the best seasons of his career. He's already hit 18 home runs and tallied 49 RBI.
The interleague games have also allowed him to earn eligibility at first base in most fantasy leagues. That gives owners more flexibility when making out their lineup. Ortiz's numbers should get even better when some of the injured hitters return to provide support.
Game 1 Prediction
Red Sox 6, Braves 3
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?