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Rays vs Red Sox Preview: Rays look to get back to winning ways

The first Red Sox series of the year has arrived

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays were just swept by the Yankees over three games in New York as the team struggled in all facets of the game during the series with the exception of a few solid performances. The Rays hope to get back on track as they travel to Boston for what always promises to be an excited series with the Boston Red Sox.

Starting Pitchers

Chris Archer vs Rick Porcello

Chris Archer has been tremendous for the Rays thus far in the early going. He has only made two starts, but has already totaled nearly 15 innings pitched as he went two outs into the eighth during his last outing after a seven inning appearance on Opening Day. His last time out was on the 8th against the Blue Jays where he allowed two runs on five hits, while he walked three and struck out eight.

Rick Porcello Scouting Report

Fresh off his Cy Young winning 2016 season, Rick Porcello has made two starts thus far in 2017 for the Red Sox and both of which have not been that great, nor have they been terrible. His last start came on the 9th in Detroit against the Tigers and he allowed four runs — three earned — on 11 hits, including a homer, while he walked one and struck out eight over six innings pitched.

Arsenal

Porcello will come at opposing hitters with six pitches: A fastball in the low 90’s, a sinker in the high 80’s, a cutter in the mid 80’s, a slider and change-up in the low 80’s, and a curveball in the mid 70’s.

He’ll usually use his fastball against lefties, with his curveball and sinker each getting thrown about 20% of the time, and then his change-up about 15% of the time.

Against righties, his pitches get a lot more equal use with fastball, sinker, and cutter all being thrown more than 25% of the time, and he’ll occasionally drop in a change-up or curveball.

Splits

It’s still too early tell with 2017 numbers, so refer back to Porcello’s splits during the 2016 season. He a reverse-splits guy, as he absolutely dominated left-handed hitters limiting them to a .261 wOBA over 459 plate appearances. Meanwhile, righties didn’t have much more success with a .289 wOBA.

Rick Porcello is also rarity in the fact that he actually got better the deeper he went into games last year as opponents wOBA decreased each time through the order against him.

Starting Lineups

Today's Lineups

TAMPA BAY RAYS BOSTON RED SOX
Corey Dickerson - LF Dustin Pedroia - 2B
Kevin Kiermaier - CF Andrew Benintendi - CF
Evan Longoria - 3B Mookie Betts - RF
Brad Miller - 2B Hanley Ramirez - DH
Steven Souza - RF Mitch Moreland - 1B
Logan Morrison - 1B Xander Bogaerts - SS
Derek Norris - C Pablo Sandoval - 3B
Shane Peterson - DH Chris Young - LF
Tim Beckham - SS Sandy Leon - C
Chris Archer - RHP Rick Porcello - RHP