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Masataka Yoshida has the Red Sox back on track

The Giants host the Red Sox for the first time since 2016.

Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

It occurs to me that the last time the San Francisco Giants played the Boston Red Sox, I was the managing editor of this site. So, I went and looked at that series preview to see if there’s anything useful I could use for this one, and... yeah. Absolutely.

All the times the Red Sox turned the Giants into a smoking crater

lol classic me

Did that setup the 2019 Giants winning two out of three in Boston? Or was it because the Red Sox were Yazmatized by Carl Yastrzemski’s grandson? Or — and I think it was this — were the Red Sox exiting a competitive window just a year after winning the World Series and a franchise record 108?

In any case, yes, the last time these two teams met it was more even than it had ever been before. This time around, though, we’re back to the Red Sox having the ability to burn the Giants to a crisp with their talented lineup (15th in fWAR, but 6th in runs scored) and solid pitching (8.9 fWAR on the season, but the 4th-best bullpen in MLB since May 1st).

All that despite a tumultuous offseason that at times left he team’s chief baseball executive, Chaim Bloom, stunned and pacing. Xander Bogaerts offered a non-competitive bid, the team staying out of the big ticket sweepstakes, but they managed to extend their hot corner infielder Rafael Devers and pickup Masataka Yoshida.

That move — 5 years, $75 million — was considered an overpay for, effectively, a DH with no MLB experience who would be 29 in the first year of the deal and had given scouts pause when it comes to his power. Those concerns sort of ignored his career .538 slugging percentage in seven Pacific League seasons and the .500 slug he’s carrying through his first 89 major league games should have by now assuaged any such concerns.

The fans love him, the players love him, and he’s been a stabilizing force in a lineup that definitely has some questions — Christian Arroyo! A lot of Enrique Hernandez before he was traded! Yu Chang! — but also features Justin Turner.

That’s right. The very same Justin Turner I’ve loathed all these years. The one I preferred to loathe over Max Muncy when they were both Dodgers. He’s having a great season (.289/.359/.481 in 423 PA) as the Red Sox DH and so good, in fact, that the team isn’t considering trading — which, hey, fine by me. If this is the only time I have to see him this season, so much the better.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox sort of have a Giants-like situation going on in their rotation, where it’s being held down by two solid starters (James Paxton - 1.4 fWAR in 65 IP and Brayan Bello - 1 fWAR in 96 IP) and then a bunch of fill-ins to work around injuries. It’s been their bullpen that’s buoyed them through these struggles, and while it’s not nearly as good as the Giants’ pen, it is very effective. The Red Sox being good but 4th place because they’re in an incredibly tough division really means they’re battle tested to compete against any team outside that division, meaning the Giants could be road kill this series.

As discussed in the latest Giants Chroncast (a podcast that Chronicles the San Francisco Giants!), this series kicks off what will be the moment of truth for the 2023 team. Three with the Red Sox leads right into four against the Diamondbacks, two in Oakland, three in Anaheim to face Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels, three against the Rangers, then three against the Rays, travel to Atlanta to get crushed by the Braves across three games, travel to Philadelphia to get booed by depressives for three more games, back to San Francisco to get throttled by the Braves again, host the Reds for three which will suck because the Reds have had the Giants’ number (Reds 79-73 vs. Giants since 2000, and 39-39 at Oracle), and on the final day of the month they begin a four-game set in San Diego.

The toughest part of the season begins today.

Series details

Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Boston Red Sox
Where: Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
When: Friday (7:15pm PT), Saturday (4:15pm PT), Sunday (1:05pm PT)
National broadcasts: Fox National Game (Saturday)

Projected starters
Friday: Logan Webb vs. Kutter Crawford
Saturday: TBA vs. James Paxton
Sunday: TBA vs TBA

Where they stand

Red Sox

Record: 55-47, 4th in AL East
Run differential: +49, 4th in AL
Postseason standing: 1.5 games back of Wild Card, 7 games out of the division
Momentum: 4-game winning streak; 6-47 in their last 10 games


Record: 56-47, 2nd in NL West
Run differential: +23, 5th in the NL
Postseason standing: +0.5 up for 3rd Wild Card, 3 games out of the division
Momentum: 2-game winning streak; 4-6 in their last 10 games

Red Sox to watch

Rafael Devers: This month, he’s hitting .379/.438/.727 (1.166) with 6 home runs.

Adam Duvall & Christian Arroyo: Former Giants — will they have revenge games?

James Paxton: Throws his four-seamer a lot. Giants can hit four-seamers with the best of them. Who has the edge in the matchup?

Giants to watch

Marco Luciano: First major league home run off Kutter Crawford or James Paxton or TBA?

Logan Webb: 2.02 ERA at home vs 4.75 on the road. Is he just a demigod at Oracle or his dominance matchup based? Boston’s lefties will be tough at bats but so will Justin Turner, that monster: career line of .444/.546/.889 against him (4-for-9).

Michael Conforto: Is he alive? We should demand proof of life. 55 games at Oracle Park and a career line of .215/.290/.350 (.639), and his 2023 as a Giant playing in Oracle as his home park has been worse. In 42 games, .196/.282/.312 (.594). He’s supposed to be the heart of the Giants’ batting order. Without him, are the Giants dead?

Prediction time


Giants vs. Red Sox - how will it go?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Red Sox sweep
    (10 votes)
  • 32%
    Red Sox win series
    (39 votes)
  • 49%
    Giants win series
    (59 votes)
  • 10%
    Giants sweep
    (12 votes)
120 votes total Vote Now