Boston Red Sox vs Tampa Bay Rays series preview
By Chris Embree
Previewing the four-game set between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.
The Boston Red Sox (5-4) host the Tampa Bay Rays (5-5) for a four-game series starting this Friday at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox are struggling to stay above .500 at this point in the season. Right now they are tied for 2nd place in the division with the New York Yankees. The starting pitching staff has a combined ERA of 4.73 and has been one of the main issues so far in the season.
The Rays are right at .500, however expectations were not very high for them coming into the season. They are coming off a series in which they got swept by the Yankees.
This series concludes on one of my favorite baseball days of the year, Marathon Monday.
Friday, April 14 at 7:10 PM – Rick Porcello (1-0, 4.38 ERA) vs Chris Archer (1-0, 2.45 ERA)
Saturday, April 15 at 4:05 PM – Chris Sale (0-1, 1.23 ERA) vs Jake Odorizzi (1-1, 4.50 ERA)
Sunday, April 16 at 1:35 PM – Drew Pomeranz (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs Alex Cobb (1-1, 3.46 ERA)
Monday, April 18 at 11:05 AM – Steven Wright (0-1, 13.50 ERA) vs Blake Snell (0-1, 3.18 ERA)
- For the last series preview I wrote about how Mitch Moreland was the hitter to watch, especially because of the amount of doubles he hit against the Tigers. Well he has continued that tear, and has hit a double in 7 straight games. He leads the MLB with 8 total doubles so far this year, and has a slash line of .324/.410/.559.
- Last week I also wrote about Matt Barnes and his spot in the bullpen. I said that he should be the 8th inning guy, setting up Craig Kimbrel. After Farrell’s decision last night to pitch him again in the 8th inning, it looks like he has officially cemented his place in the bullpen as the setup guy. In four appearances he has thrown a total of 4.2 innings, collecting 7 strikeouts. Look for him to see more time on the mound and in higher leverage situations.
- Christian Vazquez seems to have fully recovered from the Tommy John surgery he had back in 2015. Last year he did not seem to have the same amount of arm strength that he had prior to the surgery. This year he has thrown out all 3 runners that have attempted to steal on him. His rocket-arm is back and runners should be afraid to steal on him.
- Andrew Benintendi is off to a slow start. He is currently hitting .235 with only 1 extra base hit. He is expected by many to win the Rookie of the Year and I wrote about his potential during the offseason. While he has not performed to expectations yet, there is obviously still a lot of time for him to turn it around (which many of us expect). The bright side is that he has only struck out 4 times in 10 games. He’s making contact, but he just has not been able to find the holes in the defense.
Boston Red Sox: Xander Bogaerts
2017 Season (5 Games): .333/.364/.333, 0 HR, 3 RBI
Career vs Tampa Bay Rays (53 Games): .277/.354/.421, 4 HR, 24 RBI
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Bogaerts has gotten off to a great start since returning from his brief stint on the bereavement list. He has 5 hits in 3 games, which correlates to a .417 average.
There are two things to look at for from his this series. The first is if he will collect his first extra-base hit. He currently does not have any.
Also look out for his spot in the order. As I said earlier, Benintendi has not been hitting well. Maybe Farrell will switch Bogaerts and Benintendi in the order.
Tampa Bay Rays: Corey Dickerson
2017 Season (10 Games): .324/.359/.568, 2 HR, 5 RBI
Career vs Red Sox (19 Games): .274/.338/.500, 2 HR, 5 RBI
Dickerson has given the Rays consistent pop at the top of the order. In his last 7 games, he has 9 hits 1 HR and 3 RBI. Half of his hits have been extra-base hits throughout the season. Look for him to create some havoc atop the order this series.
Next: Mitch Moreland sets franchise record with doubles
Check back with BoSox Injection prior to the start of every Red Sox series this season for our preview!