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Going into the two-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Boston Red Sox look very good. But that could also be thanks to facing the worst team in the AL. Boston needs to get at least one victory in this series. The Rays are only five and a half games back on the Red Sox in the tight division race.
The Rays have had a bad start to the second half of the season so far. They are coming off a series loss to the Brewers as they only managed to get one win in a three-game set. And in both losses they didn’t manage to get a single run as they continue to struggle offensively.
Pitching matchup number one is Chris Sale vs. Austin Pruitt on the eighth.
Chris Sale is coming off a bad performance, bringing him back to Earth. He gave up seven runs in five innings leading to a no decision. Before that, he had 33 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings, while only allowing 10 hits. Against the Rays, Chris Sale is 2-1 and has allowed eight earned runs. In each game, Sale has whiffed 12 batters. And with his track record against Tampa Bay, he should be able to give us a good bounce back outing to put us in a good situation willing the Sox continue to hit well.
Rays rookie Austin Pruitt will face the Red Sox, coming off an outing in which he blanked the Astros for 6 1/3 innings. Pruitt has faced the Red Sox twice this season in relief, which included a difficult appearance in Fenway in which Boston picked up eight hits and four runs against Pruitt in 2 1/3 innings. Pruitt has since moved from the bullpen to the rotation for depth and has done ok. But don’t let that 6-2 record scare you as he has shown that things can blow up in his face and with our red hot offense we have to be ready to take advantage.
Pitching matchup number two is Rick Porcello vs Jake Odorizzi
Rick Porcello has gone from being the 2016 CY Young award winner to looking like a 12 year old out on the mound. He has really got to get on track down the stretch. Our rotation needs him to do well especially with the whole David Price situation. He hasn’t faired very well against the Rays as he has let up 12 earned runs, but 14 in total. And has let up 23 hits with two walks and 19 K’s in his 18 1/3 innings pitched against Tampa Bay. Going into this game I have little trust in him and hope our offense shows up for him.
Odorizzi is coming off the disabled list to make Wednesday’s start after having some back pain. He pitched a game in the Triple-A and had a bit of trouble as he gave up 2 earned runs in only three innings. It’s been a very rough year for the righty, as he’s striking out fewer batters than he has over any full season while allowing more walks than ever. The biggest issue has been home runs, as he’s allowed a whopping 23 home runs over 94 2/3 innings. He’s made two starts against Boston this year. In the first, he allowed seven runs over 4 1/3 innings in an outing that included two homers. In the second, he left after just one inning due to injury. This will be his first game back in the MLB since leaving the game early due to injury versus the Red Sox.
Things to know about this series:
Sale always strikes out double digit batters versus the Rays as he fans 13.4 per nine innings in his career taking on Tampa. That’s his highest aside from his former club, the White Sox as he has only faced them once. Even with those strikeout numbers, Sale seems to struggle against the Rays as he has a 3.67 ERA. That’s his third highest ERA against in the AL.
Evan Longoria has put up a .100 batting average versus Chris as he has only managed 3 hits in his 30 at-bats taking on Sale. Trevor Plouffe on the other hand has been a thorn in Sale’s side as he is batting .304 with a .360 on base percentage.
Wilson Ramos has lit up the Sox the last time we matched up against each other, but hasn’t done anything this year much of it having to due with missing most part of first half of the season.
Lucas Duda was added to the Rays and has been killing it while Rick has been giving up quite a few singers this season.
Kevin Kiermaier who might be their best overall player on the team has been out since June due to injury.
By: Jake T