Nathan Eovaldi takes the mound with a chance to pitch the Red Sox to a four-game sweep of the Royals as Boston hosts Kansas City in the series finale on Thursday afternoon.
Boston is 6-0 to start its seven-game homestand, including a 6-2, rain-delayed victory on Wednesday night. It was the Red Sox’s major-league-leading 28th come-from-behind win and their third straight in the series.
“So far, it’s been an outstanding homestand,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “You’ve got to tip (your) hat to the guys. They show up here (at home). We swept the Yankees, we’ve won three already to a team that was tough against us last week and we’ve got a chance to sweep ’em.”
Kansas City is in a free fall after losing its past eight games and 20 of its past 24.
“I feel like we should just keep rolling, keep doing our thing. Obviously, right now it’s not working,” said Royals starting pitcher Mike Minor, who gave up five runs over five innings in the Wednesday loss. “Sometimes you just run into good teams — and right now they’re hot.”
Two of the Royals’ four wins during their rough stretch came against the Red Sox, when Kansas City won a three-game series June 18-20.
The Royals beat Eovaldi 7-3 in the series finale. Boston’s veteran right-hander gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits with a walk and four strikeouts in a four-inning outing.
Eovaldi (8-4, 3.67 ERA) bounced back to throw a season-high 7 2/3 innings and yield just one run in a 4-2 win against the New York Yankees on Saturday. He gave up seven hits and walked none while striking out six.
Against the Royals, Eovaldi is 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA in five appearances and three starts. Jarrod Dyson is 3-for-6 with three RBIs lifetime against Eovaldi. Carlos Santana is 2-for-8 with a pair of RBIs, and Salvador Perez and Nicky Lopez have one RBI apiece against him.
Kris Bubic (2-3, 4.47 ERA) will make his seventh start of the season for the Royals. The 23-year-old left-hander pitched out of the bullpen in his past three appearances after making six consecutive starts.
Bubic is 1-1 with a 3.44 ERA in seven relief appearances this season, but has pitched to a 1-2 record and a 5.10 ERA as a starter this season.
After tossing 2 1/3 scoreless innings against Yankees on June 22, Bubic took a loss Saturday. He coughed up three runs on three hits with a pair of walks in two-thirds of an inning at Texas.
Bubic was the winning pitcher as the Royals beat Boston 5-3 on June 18, allowing two runs on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings. That was the only time he has faced the Red Sox.
Marwin Gonzalez is 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs against Bubic while J.D. Martinez and Alex Verdugo are both 1-for-2 with an RBI against him.
–Field Level Media