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Red Sox-Rangers Pitching Matchups: Two Light-Hitting Lineups Face Off Against Sub-Par Staffs

BOSTON (CBS) - The Red Sox return home from a 10-game road trip to face the Texas Rangers in a three-game series at Fenway Park starting Tuesday night.

Boston accrued a 5-5 record while away from home in sets against Toronto, Oakland, and Seattle, respectively, which is on par for how they've performed throughout the early part of the 2015 season -- playing baseball at or below .500.

The Red Sox, 18-20, currently sit at third place in the American League East and 3.5 games back from the Yankees.

For all the talk about the Red Sox having a great offense that will make up for the lack of front-end starting pitchers in the rotation, so far that assessment has not come to fruition.

The Red Sox offense (.230 average, 28th in MLB) is performing just as bad as its pitching staff (4.64 ERA, 27th in MLB), and when one facet comes to life the other one falters. In 2015, Boston has very rarely put together a complete game in all phases. That inconsistency will need to change soon if Boston hopes to keep the division race close.

The Sox face a Rangers team that also hasn't been good at the dish. Texas is ranked 26th in team batting average (.237) and ninth in the AL in runs scored (158).

Here's a look at the pitching matchups for the upcoming three-game set against Texas:

Tuesday, May 19 — 7:10pm

Wade Miley (2-4, 5.60 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (3-5, 3.94 ERA)

After a disastrous first month (7.16 ERA) and two poor starts in May, left-hander Wade Miley is coming off his best performance of the season, when he pitched 6.2 shutout innings in a win at Oakland.

Meanwhile, right-hander Yovani Gallardo broke a four-game losing streak with a victory over the Royals on Wednesday, allowing two runs in seven innings. Gallardo, who spent eight seasons in the National League with Milwaukee, has faced the Red Sox just twice, where he is 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA.

Key Matchup: Dustin Pedroia vs. Gallardo

The Laser Show has three hits in six career at bats against Gallardo (.500 average), including a home run. In 2015, Pedroia is batting .300 vs. righties.

Wednesday, May 20 — 7:10pm

Joe Kelly (1-2, 5.58 ERA) vs. Phil Klein (0-0, 7.71 ERA)

Joe Kelly had one of his best performances of the season in his last outing (a no decision), holding Seattle to just five hits and a run over 6.1 innings. The Red Sox are 4-3 when Kelly takes the hill.

Meanwhile, 26-year-old Phil Klein gets his first start of his major league career for the Rangers in Boston. In 4.2 innings of relief work for Texas in 2015, Klein has struck out three while allowing four earned runs.

Key Matchup: Shin-Soo Choo vs. Kelly

Choo has three hits in six career at bats against Kelly, including a solo home run. Choo already has six home runs on the season (career high is 22).

Thursday, May 21 — 7:10pm

Clay Buchholz (2-4, 4.93 ERA) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (1-2, 3.86 ERA)

Buchholz holds a 3.92 ERA with 21 strikeouts in his last three starts, so the de facto ace for the Sox appears to be turning his season around. In his last time up, the righty allowed just three hits over eight innings in a no-decision against the Mariners, which included 11 strikeouts. Buchholz is just 1-4 in his career against Texas. Buchholz hopes to get his first win at home in 2015 Thursday night.

In the final game of the series, the Red Sox will face left-hander Wandy Rodriguez. Entering Tuesday, the Sox are batting just .193 against lefties this season. In his first season in the American League, Rodriguez sports a 3.86 ERA in five games.

Key Matchup: Hanley Ramirez vs. Rodriguez

In 28 plate appearances against Rodriguez, Ramirez is batting .417 with a home run and two RBI. Ramirez also has two doubles and two triples to his name against the Texas southpaw. However, Ramirez has had more success on the road (.298 AVG, 6 HR) than at home (.200 AVG, 4 HR) this season.

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