Red Sox vs. Rays Series Preview

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Rafael Devers
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Rafael Devers /

The Red Sox arrive home for another series with the Rays.

The Boston Red Sox (19-5) host the Tampa Bay Rays (10-13) for a three-game series at Fenway Park. The Red Sox are 6-1 against the Rays this season, outscoring them 31-21 through seven games.

The Red Sox have won all but one series this season, dropping two out of three to the A’s in Oakland. Since their offense went silent, they managed to rebound with taking two out of three from the Blue Jays in Toronto.

Xander Bogaerts will be welcomed back to the lineup tonight after suffering an ankle injury against the Rays last time the two played in Fenway. Bogey posted an astounding .368/.400/.711/1.111 line with seven doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs before landing on the disabled list.

While the first game between the Rays and Orioles was postponed due to weather, the Rays took the next two from the O’s. Tampa Bay doesn’t strike many as an offensive force, but eight or more runs for five consecutive games.

As per usual, the Red Sox can’t take the Rays lightly. The Rays are sure to bring tough starting pitching and pesky offense to Fenway.

Pitching Matchups

Friday, April 27 at 7:10 PM Drew Pomeranz (0-0, 7.36 ERA ) vs. Blake Snell (3-1, 2.54 ERA)

Saturday, April 28 at 4:05 PM David Price (2-2, 2.93 ERA) vs. Yonny Chirinos (0-1, 2.92 ERA)

Sunday, April 29 at 1:05 PM€“ Rick Porcello (4-0, 1.93 ERA) vs. TBA

Series Notes

  • Andrew Benintendi has gone 1-for-18 with no extra-base hits nor RBIs vs. left-handed pitching. Yikes.
  • Porcello is tied with Max Scherzer for the major league-lead in FIP (1.77).
  • Porcello hasn’t allowed a home run this year after leading the majors with 38 surrendered last season.
  • Snell has won three in a row while striking out 25 batters.
  • Price has thrown 14 scoreless innings against the Rays this season.
  • Chirinos hasn’t gone more than 5 2/3 innings this year.
  • C.J. Cron has quietly put together a strong start to the season. He has six homers and 17 RBI.

Three Keys To Victory

  • Bullpen: Can the bullpen step up in Joe Kelly’s absence? The setup man will be suspended for the series after his altercation with Yankees first baseman Tyler Austin. The Rays always have a strong bullpen and the Red Sox must match the young hurlers inning for inning. Since Carson Smith has been an inconsistent mess, can Matt Barnes step up as the bonafide setup man in Kelly’s absence?
  • Rays starting pitching: If you ask most fans of baseball, they’ll struggle to name a starting pitcher on Tampa’s roster aside from Chris Archer. However, Snell and Chirinos both have pitched fantastically with ERA’s under three. The Red Sox haven’t hit Rays starting pitching hard for most of the meetings between the two this season. Most of Red Sox runs have come off of the usually solid Rays bullpen.
  • Defense: Red Sox defense has been rough lately. Rafael Devers committed two errors last night against Toronto, and Eduardo Nunez has been mediocre all season. The Red Sox rank 24th in defensive runs saved. If Boston doesn’t clean up in the field, they’ll get burned. No team can win with poor defense, even if their offense is a juggernaut.

Next: Red Sox lineup uncharacteristically struggles with strikeouts

Check back with BoSox Injection prior to the start of every Red Sox series this season for our preview!