Boston Red Sox vs Tampa Bay Rays Series Preview
Previewing the three game series between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park.
The Boston Red Sox (6-6) meet their division rival Tampa Bay Rays (5-7) for the first time this season to wrap up a 10-game home stand at Fenway Park.
Boston split a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays that concluded with Monday’s annual Patriot’s Day game. The Red Sox were well on their way to winning the series until the bullpen melted down in the 8th inning. Boston’s bullpen has been solid overall, but the first home game of the season was lost when new closer Craig Kimbrel gave up a three-run homer and the home stand ended with setup man Koji Uehara coughing up four runs in an uncharacteristically wild outing to blow the lead late in the game.
The Rays got off to a slow start this season, but are coming off their first series win against the Chicago White Sox. Tampa Bay took two out of three against Chicago, with their only loss coming in a 1-0 defeat where Chris Sale went the distance to shut them out.
Tuesday April 19 @ 7:10 PM: Joe Kelly (1-0, 10.13 ERA) vs Drew Smyly (0-2, 4.61 ERA)
Wednesday April 20 @ 7:10 PM: Rick Porcello (2-0, 5.11 ERA) vs Chris Archer (0-3, 5.87 ERA)
Thursday April 21 @ 1:35 PM: David Price (2-0, 4.50 ERA) vs Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 2.41 ERA)
- Chris Young will get another start in left field for the series opener on Tuesday with the left-handed Smyly on the mound. Young is off to a 2-for-15 (.133) start at the plate, but both of his hits went for doubles against a lefty.
- The recent playing time for Young has come at the expense of Brock Holt, who will miss his third straight game on Tuesday. The Red Sox desire to get Young in the game against lefties seems reasonable, but why does it always have to be in place of Holt? His versatility allows him to be moved almost anywhere else on the field in order to accommodate Young taking over in left field and the Brock Star hit .315 against left-handed pitching last year.
- Noe Ramirez has been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, with Heath Hembree getting the call-up to replace him in the Red Sox bullpen. Ramirez had given up a run in four of his six relief appearances and owned a 4.91 ERA.
- The news on Pablo Sandoval‘s status isn’t promising. This situation is only getting more confusing as the days go by, with a former team doctor now questioning why Sandoval’s evaluation has been delayed.
Red Sox: Travis Shaw
2016 (12 games): .342/.432/.553, 1 HR, 7 RBI
Career vs Rays (9 games): .429/.488/.800, 3 HR, 9 RBI
Shaw has been tearing it up since stealing away the starting third base job to begin the season. He enters the day 10th in the league in batting average and 11th in OPS.
Rays: Steven Souza
2016 (10 games): .294/.333/.588, 3 HR, 6 RBI
Career vs Red Sox (18 games): .288/.368/.458, 2 HR, 6 RBI
Tampa’s struggling offense isn’t filled with many hitters that strike fear into opposing pitchers, but the 26-year old Souza is starting to develop into a threat. He’s been buried near the bottom of the Rays lineup this season, but that is bound to change if he continues to lead the team in just about every significant offensive category.