Red Sox vs. Rays Series Preview: Home sweet home
The Boston Red Sox will debut at Fenway for the first time this season in a three- game series.
The Boston Red Sox (5-1) have gotten off to a fast start against inferior competition this season. Now, they’ll face the same competition again at Fenway Park for their home opener.
The always pesky Tampa Bay Rays (1-5) travel to Boston looking to snap out of a five game losing streak. After stealing a win on Opening Day against the Red Sox’ bullpen blunder, the Rays have since struggled to produce offensively. They’ve scored nine runs in five games.
Despite the pitching staff performing well for four games against the Red Sox, the Rays have since allowed 18 runs in two games to the Yankees. Tampa will look to take their frustrations out on Boston.
As for the Red Sox, the offense hasn’t been overly impressive, but the starting pitching remains exceptional. The starters haven’t allowed more than one run in the first six games of the season for the first time in franchise history. What’s even more impressive is the Red Sox are doing this without two usual starters in Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz.
However, the starting pitching is bound to have a few setback performances. If the Red Sox want to continue their winning ways, the offense will have to start clicking.
Thursday, April 5 at 2:05 PM – David Price (1-0, 0.00 ERA ) vs Yonny Chirinos (debut)
Saturday, April 7 at 1:05 PM – Rick Porcello vs Jake Faria
Sunday, April 8 at 1:05 PM – TBA vs TBA
- Price is 17-5 with a 3.12 ERA lifetime at Fenway.
- Chirinos, who allowed one hit in four scoreless relief innings against the Red Sox on April 1, makes his debut as a starter.
- While J.D. Martinez has put some good swings together, he’s still looking for his first home run as a member of the Red Sox.
- Andrew Benintendi enters Fenway’s home stand with a .158 batting average. He’s looking to shake off his rough road trip.
- The pressure may pile for Jackie Bradley Jr. if he doesn’t produce during this home stand. He’s batting .118 on the season, and can’t afford to slump too much longer without losing at-bats.
- Hector Velazquez is the likely starter for Sunday’s game, but Rodriguez could make a last minute surprise start. He had a dominating performance in Pawtucket and the Red Sox coaching staff feels he may be ready by Sunday.
Three Keys To Victory
- Late inning execution: As I said in the first series between these two teams, The Red Sox always find themselves in a bullpen battle every series against the Rays. Like always, the Red Sox blew a game thanks to a pathetic performance by the bullpen — this time it was Opening Day. Clean relief performances remains the crucial theme to this series.
- Power: The Red Sox have out pitched their competition this season, but the offense needs to wake up. Hanley Ramirez, Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts have started the season off strong, each hitting a home run. But the rest of the lineup needs to produce and flash some power.
- Pitch count: The Red Sox starters have pitched outstanding thus far, but one nitpick is the high pitch count they’ve struggled with. Sale’s brilliant Opening Day was ended after six innings. Additionally, Porcello’s was cut short at 5 1/3 innings. Sale then turned in another excellent outing, but only got through five innings on 93 pitches. The Red Sox must cut down on high pitch counts to last longer in games and preserve the bullpen.
Next: Red Sox Fenway Park home opener vs Rays: TV, Radio, Live Stream info
Check back with BoSox Injection prior to the start of every Red Sox series this season for our preview!