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Series Preview: Rays head to Fenway

Rays and Red Sox split last week’s four game series

Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays
He’s been on a tear.
Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images

After bursting out for ten runs to prevent a sweep at the hands of the Astros, the Rays look forward to another series against division-rival Boston. Not a lot has changed since their matchup last week. The Wednesday matchup of Drew Smyly and Steven Wright is the only showdown that won’t be a repeat. The Red Sox come in losers of four of their last five games, including two losses to the Rays.

The Matchups:

Monday: Matt Andriese vs Rick Porcello

Tuesday: Jake Odorizzi vs Drew Pomeranz

Wednesday: Drew Smyly vs Steven Wright

Facing the same opponent twice in a row isn’t good for the pitcher

The Rays put three runs on the board against Rick Porcello less than a week ago. He struck out eight and didn’t issue a walk, but Evan Longoria blasted a homer before Porcello completed his 7.2 innings. Porcello is currently 12-0 with a 2.96 ERA at home.

Drew Pomeranz took the loss in a 2-1 pitcher’s duel against Jake Odorizzi last Thursday afternoon. Pomeranz allowed two runs over six plus innings while striking out eleven and walking one. Mikie Mahtook was the hero, as he busting out of his slump with a game-winning double.

Steven Wright is a knuckle baller who has had an incredible season. He’s posted a 3.18 ERA and 3.59 FIP. He is coming off a rough outing against the Royals in his first appearance since returning from the disabled list. The Royals got him for five runs over six innings, including two homers.

Red Sox bullpen got worked hard last night

Last night the Red Sox got hit for eight runs in the sixth inning. Matt Barnes, Robbie Ross, Jr., and Junichi Tazawa had to put in extra work.

Craig Kimbrel is fresh as he hasn’t seen action since last Wednesday’s game. Brad Ziegler is also pretty fresh as he only worked one inning against the Royals.

Rays pitchers quieted Red Sox bats last time out

The Rays held the highest scoring team in the league to only 12 runs over the four game series. Boston fared better against the Royals as they put up 15 runs in three games. Over the last week they have put up a .276/.343/.402 line and 96 wRC+.

Dustin Pedroia has been incredibly hot; he got a hit in 11 straight at bats, ending Saturday evening. He won’t start Monday’s game (he’s taken a brief personal leave to attend a funeral), but should arrive to be available off the bench. He’s batting .600/.643/.680 and 266 wRC+ over the past week.

Mookie Betts (167 wRC+), Xander Bogaerts (149 wRC+), David Ortiz (137 wRC+), and Chris Young (135 wRC+) have done the bulk of the damage over the last week. Hanley Ramirez (61 wRC+), Jackie Bradley, Jr. (31 wRC+), and Sandy Leon (-10 wRC+) have been held in check.

Rays will help determine the AL East race.

The Rays will face American League East foes in their next 26 games. How teams fare against the Rays will play a major role in determining who lives to play in October.

The team can tighten up some play especially on the base paths, but otherwise they have looked pretty solid since the all-star break. Stealing some wins from the Red Sox would feel nice for at least a few days.