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Game 7 Preview: Tampa Bay Rays @ Boston Red Sox

After five straight losses, the Rays turn to a rookie to reverse their fortune in Boston

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

This afternoon, Yonny Chirinos and the Rays look to snap their five-game losing streak against a Red Sox team that has won five straight.

Boston pitching has been on a roll lately, allowing just eight runs during their five-game winning streak against the Rays (three) and the Marlins (two), while Rays pitchers struggled against a fierce Yankee lineup that is bound to make a lot of pitchers look foolish during the 2018 season.

Today, Boston will send David Price to the mound for their home opener. He’ll be opposing rookie right-hander Yonny Chirinos, the first out of many pitchers in another scheduled bullpen day for Tampa Bay.

Today’s game will be televised on Fox Sports Sun. First pitch is set for 2:05 PM ET and is expected to be under freezing conditions as temperatures feel like they’re in the mid 20’s in Boston.

Starting Pitchers

Yonny Chirinos

The right-hander will kick off the Rays bullpen day on the mound for the Rays. Chirinos was impressive in his MLB debut last Saturday against Boston, holding them scoreless over four innings of work while striking out three, walking one, and allowing one hit.

Here’s what Ian had to say about Chirinos’s debut:

As with all pitchers who don’t overpower, what he does with his intriguing arsenal will all come down to command, and in outing number one his command wasn’t good. But if he can harness it, and there’s reason to believe that he can, Chirinos will pick up believers, and fast.

David Price

This will be the Rays second look at David Price as a starter in 2018. In his first go-around with Tampa Bay, Price (1-0) scattered four hits over seven scoreless innings while striking out five in Friday’s 1-0 win over the Rays. It was Price’s first start since July 22 of last year.

As CBS Sports notes, the Rays roster has a combined .136 against Price:

Carlos Gomez is 0-for-17, Rob Refsnyder 0-for-8, Denard Span and Matt Duffy both 1-for-12 (.083), Brad Miller 4-for-27 (.148) and Adeiny Hechavarria 2-for-9 (.222) versus Price. The list has one homer (by Kevin Kiermaier) in 118 at-bats against Price, who comes in 17-5 lifetime at Fenway Park.

For a Rays team that is also struggling offensively, this does not make for an easy Thursday afternoon task.

His repertoire, per Brooks Baseball,

In 2017, he relied primarily on his Sinker (95mph) and Cutter (89mph), also mixing in a Change using a Circle Change grip (86mph), Fourseam Fastball (94mph) and Curve using a Knuckle Curve grip (80mph).

His sinker is blazing fast, generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers’ sinkers, has little sinking action compared to a true sinker and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ sinkers. His cutter generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers’ cutters and has well above average velo. His change generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ changeups, is much firmer than usual and has slight armside fade. His fourseam fastball generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers and has well above average velo. His curve is much harder than usual, has little depth, has primarily 12-6 movement and results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers’ curves.

Starting Lineups

Today's Lineups

Matt Duffy - 3B Mookie Betts - RF
Kevin Kiermaier - CF Andrew Benintendi - LF
Carlos Gomez - RF Hanley Ramirez - 1B
C.J. Cron - DH J.D. Martinez - DH
Wilson Ramos - C Xander Bogaerts - SS
Brad Miller - 1B Rafael Devers - 3B
Adeiny Hechavarria - SS Eduardo Nunez - 2B
Daniel Robertson - 2B Jackie Bradley - CF
Rob Refsnyder - LF Christian Vazquez - C
Yonny Chirinos - RHP David Price - LHP