Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays vs Boston Red Sox


As the Red Sox prepare to conclude the 2014 season, they will welcome the Tampa Bay Rays to Boston to begin the last home stand of the year. The long Red Sox have long given up hope by now and, if you haven’t already been doing it for months, then you should be fully focused on the youngsters on the team. A red-hot Mookie Betts, a resurgent Xander Bogaerts, Garin Cecchini, Christian Vazquez, and Bryce Brentz are set to receive regular playing time in this last week of the season, along with recently-signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo. That combination of new players will attempt to topple the Rays in this series, but considering their inexperience and the fact that the Red Sox have a shot at a top-five draft selection next year, it’s not a big deal if they don’t.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Alex Cobb (9-8, 2.82 ERA) vs Clay Buchholz (8-9, 5.29 ERA)

  • Following the trade of David Price to the Detroit Tigers, Cobb has served as an ace for the Red Sox and, while Buchholz has been solid of late, stringing together four quality starts before a dud in Pittsburgh, the advantage goes to the Rays in this game. Red Sox fans should look at Buchholz’s performance in what could be his last start of the season, searching for any sign that could allow hope towards next year. However, if Buchholz fails, then watching any of the afore-mentioned rookies should be enough to get you excited about the future of the Red Sox, even if the present is dim.

Game 2: Jake Odorizzi (11-12, 3.98 ERA) vs Anthony Ranaudo (3-3, 5.29 ERA)

  • Ranaudo could be a big piece of that future; however, he has been unimpressive through his first six starts at the big league level. It’s still a small sample size though, and a strong start from Ranaudo– preferably allowing fewer than two home runs– could go a long way towards inspiring some confidence about his starting prospects for the future. Ranaudo will be matched against Odorizzi, a budding star for the Rays in the midst of a strong rookie season, and once again, the Rays have the advantage in this game.

Game 3: Jeremy Hellickson (1-4, 3.96 ERA) vs Allen Webster (4-3, 5.54 ERA)

  • While an Allen Webster start has been a bad omen for more than a year, the young right-hander has actually strung together two good starts for the Red Sox. Considering his impressive raw stuff and arsenal, Webster can be very fun to watch when he’s on top of his game, so hopefully we get to see that side of Webster rather than the miserable one in his last start of 2014. On the other side, the Red Sox will face consistently-decent Jeremy Hellickson, who is nothing to fear and the Red Sox could have a shot to win this game if Webster continues on his current trajectory.

It’s hard to believe that there are just two more series in the 2014 season and, while it’s been a disappointment on the whole, seeing the young studs has been fun and there should be even more emphasis on playing the youngsters in these last six games.