Red Sox Series Preview: At Rays

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Apr 17, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher

Joe Kelly

(56) pitches during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Pitching Matchups @ Rays (Tropicana Field):

April 21 @ 7:10 PM ET

  • Wade Miley (0-1, 10.57 ERA) vs. Chris Archer (2-1, 1.37 ERA)

April 22 @ 7:10 PM ET

  • Joe Kelly (1-0, 2.13 ERA) vs. Nathan Karns (1-1, 4.58 ERA)

April 23 @ 7:10 PM ET

The Rays’ starting pitching has done much better than was previously expected, at least so far this season. Righty Chris Archer may be the real deal.‘s Michael Kolligian reported that “Archer has dominated opposing hitters in his last two trips to the hill, allowing three hits and striking out 16 over 14 innings of work in road victories over the Marlins and Blue Jays. On the season, opponents are batting .136 against the 26-year-old right-hander, and his 21 strikeouts rank third in the American League.”

More from Red Sox History

Odorizzi has had some recent success of his own. Having only given up 4 runs in 3 games, Odorizzi has struck out 19 opposing bats to 5 walks given up. All three games were against the other division rivals: the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Yankees. His seven-pitch arsenal includes a four-seamer (90.5 mph), a two-seamer (90.3 mph), a cutter (86.1 mph), a slider (83.6 mph), a curve (69.5 mph), and a changeup. However, he has foregone the changeup so far this season. Nothing too noticeable in terms of speed, but the variety could give Red Sox bats some trouble. Considering Odorizzi is taking on Buchholz on the mound, Boston may want to get to him early before the Rays can get to their ace.

And, while not to say that Karns is a slouch, but the Red Sox’ Kelly has been looking more like ‘The King’ than ‘the Average Joe’, as of late. Excuse the term, as nobody is comparing Joe to King Kelly of Red Sox lore. However, Kelly’s fastball has been clocked at averaging 96.5 mph, almost two clicks more than last season. In fact, this velocity change has been the most since he debuted in 2012, at 92.7 mph. With only giving up 3 earned runs on 5 hits in the combined 2 starts, Kelly will look to assert himself, once again, as one of the best pitchers to start this year’s campaign.

No matter who you are routing for, this series looks to be very interesting in the pitching duels set to commence.