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Series preview: Red Sox at Rays

The Battle for the Bottom

More of this, please.
More of this, please.
Jim Rogash

The reeling Red Sox have now been swept by Toronto and Detroit back-to-back, and sit only one game in front of the Rays. Win this series, and the Rays will no longer be the bottom of the division. Baby steps.

Felix Doubront is injured for the Red Sox, and the game three starter has not yet been announced. Ben Zobrist is eligible to come of the disabled list today scratch that, he is on the 15-Day DL, not the 7-Day previously thought.

Here is an interactive graph of batter-pitcher matchup projections for every game of the series. The matchup projections come from a tool I made with Jason Hanselman (Dock of the Rays) that incorporates Bojan Koprivica's research on regressing platoon splits and Steamer projections. The grey line is at an average wOBA of .320.

Thanks to Jason's work, these projections are now park-adjusted. The overall and vs. average L/R pitchers displayed are park-neutral, and the matchup is paced in the park where it will be played.

Chris Archer vs. John Lackey, 7:10

John Lackey has been the Red Sox' second best pitcher this season, after John Lester. In terms of strikeouts and walks, he's in the middle of his best season ever, although his ERA has trailed the peripherals. He's a normal right-handed starter without much of a split.

Chris Archer, despite his success against lefties this year, is still a pitcher for whom we should expect a wide split. That could serve him well against righties Mike Napoli and Dustin Pedroia, but as I say every time I graph this matchup, oh boy David Ortiz is scary.

David Price vs. Jake Peavy, 4:10


Tomorrow's game is a matchup of mirror images. By these projections, Price is 18% better than the average lefty against left-handed batters, and 4% better than the average lefty against right-handed batters. Peavy is 16% better than the average righty against right-handed batters, and 4% better than the average righty against left-handed batters. It's an odd situation where neither Evan Longoria or David Ortiz should be expected to produce. It would be very good to have Zobrist back for this game to pick up Longo's slack.

Jake Odorizzi vs. TBD, 1:40

The Sunday starter will likely be Brandon Workman, Allen Webster, or Chris Capuano. The first two are young righties. Capuano, currently the long man in the Boston bullpen, is a lefty. I'm including comparisons of Jake Odorizzi to both an average lefty and an average righty.

Average lefty:


Average righty:


With Matt Joyce and David DeJesus on this team, I think the Rays would prefer to face a righty, and there's a better than even chance that they will.