The Rays last faced Boston two weeks ago and took the series, thanks to a shocking walkoff hit from Rene Rivera. This upcoming series's first game will be a rematch of the last game these two played: Jake Odorizzi will take on Clay Buchholz at Fenway.
It was a solid pitchers duel last time out, as it was probably Buchholz best start of the year and each pitcher went at least six innings and each only allowed 1 run.
These two teams have undergone several changes since then, with Desmond Jennings going on the DL, while both Drew Smyly and James Loney have been activated. For the Red Sox, they've lost oft-injured Ryan Hanigan for a significant amount of time due to a fractured pinky knuckle that requires surgery. Hanigan's injury allowed Boston to promote their top prospect, Blake Swihart, who made his major league debut on Saturday.
For the Rays, they placed Desmond Jennings on the disabled list with left knee bursitis. Before being placed on the DL, Jennings had already missed several games due to his knee problems, so the stint is retroactive to April 26th, meaning the team could activate him on the 11th if he's healthy enough.
In the meantime, the Rays called up Joey Butler from Durham to soak up miscellaneous at bats, and his debut with the team he went 1-3 on Sunday.
During this past series against the Orioles, the Rays struggled with the bat as they traded shutouts with the O's on Friday and Saturday, then only scored twice during Sunday's loss.
Part of that problem has been the black hole at the top of the order. Steven Souza, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Evan Longoria went 1-29 with 15 strikeouts and 4 walks this past series. Souza in particular has been slumping going 0-17 with 12 strikeouts, so the Rays are shaking things up just a tad.
Due to Asdrubal Cabrera's sluggish start to the year, Kevin Cash has finally dropped Cabrera in the order and moved James Loney up to the third spot. Joey Butler gets the start as the DH, and DeJesus will bat 5th.
Here's how both teams will lineup:
#rays @ BOS: Kiermaier cf, Souza rf, Loney 1b, Longoria 3b, DeJesus lf, Forsythe 2b, Cabrera SS, Butler dh, Rivera c - Odorizzi p— RMooneyTBO (@RMooneyTBO) May 4, 2015
Clay Buchholz dominated the Rays last time he faced them, striking out 10 and only allowed 2 hits in 6 innings, but his last time out he couldn't even get out of the third inning against Toronto has he was touched for 4 runs.
The last time he faced the Rays, he relied on his cutter the most, throwing it 30% of time, while doing a good job mixing the rest of his pitches, using his fastball 20%, sinker 21%, chage 18%, and his curve 12% of the time.
Buchholz used his cutter to attack the inside part of the plate to lefties, and make it run away from righties to the outside edge of the zone. With his sinker, he kept running it to both sides of the plate, nibbling at the corners. He used it fastball sporadically in the zone to lefties, while keeping it away from righties. He dropped his curve in several times during the last time he matched up against Tampa, keeping it near the bottom of the zone. He threw his changeup almost exclusively to lefties, keeping near the outside corner. It will be interesting if he repeats these methods, given his great performance that day.
- Dan Johnson was released by the Reds today and quickly signed a minor league deal with the Cardinals. He needs some help with the Franchise 4 voting. Don't let the mid-summer classic exclude the greatest hero in Rays history.
- Kyle Farnsworth has moved to a sport more befitting
- And Saltalamacchia might be free after all:
If Saltalamacchia clears waivers, as expected, he'll be free to sign with any team. #Marlins would pick up bulk of contract.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) May 4, 2015