Red Sox won’t have to face injured Shane McClanahan, Brandon Lowe, Wander Franco in crucial Rays series
When the Boston Red Sox begin their three-game series at Tropicana Field on Monday night, they will be facing a Tampa Bay Rays team that’s without three of its key players.
Last week, the Rays announced that they’d placed starting pitcher Shane McClanahan and second baseman Brandon Lowe on the Injured List, thereby ruling them out for this series. McClanahan has a left shoulder impingement, while Lowe has a right triceps contusion.
Lowe could return during the series, as his IL stint is retroactive to August 28, but the Sox definitely won’t face McClanahan, which definitely evens the playing field. Facing the Cy Young contender wouldn’t have been easy for the Sox. Over 24 starts in this, his second big-league season, the 25-year-old has a 2.20 ERA and 0.862 WHIP. The southpaw leads MLB with an impressive 5.9 H/9; he’s given up 97 hits in 147 1/3 innings this year, compared to 120 hits over 123 1/3 frames last season. He’s racked up 182 strikeouts and has issued fewer walks in more innings than he did in his rookie season. Opposing lineups are hitting .185/.233/.295 against him.
After hitting a career-high 39 home runs in 2021, Lowe is having a less powerful, though still above-league average season by wRC+ standards. He was hitting .234/.319/.405 over 61 when he went back on the IL, after previously being sidelined from mid-May to mid-July with low back discomfort.
Lowe has also hit the Sox very well in his career. Over 43 games against Boston, he’s slashed .336/.460/.686 with eight doubles, a triple, and 13 home runs. He’s also 4-for-4 in stolen-base attempts against them.
The Sox also won’t have to contend with Wander Franco, the young phenom who had surgery on his right wrist in early July. He’s currently rehabbing with Triple-A Durham, but isn’t expected to return until well after the Sox series. Franco actually made his big-league debut against the Sox in June 2021 and notched the first two hits of his career in that game. He finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting last fall.
Of course, the Rays are equipped with a loaded farm system that enables them to withstand injuries, so there’s no guarantee that the players replacing McClanahan, Lowe, and Franco won’t shut the Sox down, too.