The Tampa Bay Rays bats got the July 4th festivities off to an early start over the last three games putting up 24 runs. Now the Rays head to Boston to face the scorching hot Red Sox who have gone 21-8 since the beginning of June after a sluggish start to the season.
The New York Yankees continue to set the pace in the American League East, but the battle for second is a very tight three horse race. The Yankees lead the Red Sox by 13.5 games, 14.0 lead over the Toronto Blue Jays, and 14.5 games over the Rays. The Baltimore Orioles have stabilized at 22.0 games back.
Monday 1:35 PM: Jalen Beeks vs Austin Davis (opener)
Tuesday 7:10 PM: Jeffrey Springs vs Nick Pivetta
Wednesday 7:10 PM: Corey Kluber vs TBA
Austin Davis has been an up and down reliever since 2018 with the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Boston Red Sox. He’s made one open earlier this year for the Red Sox, but shouldn’t be expected to see more than one time through the lineup. He’s put up good results this year with a 2.45 ERA/3.66 FIP/4.56 xFIP. His 25.4% strikeout rate is good but the trouble has come from a 11.9% walk rate. Davis works primarily as a two-pitch pitcher who throws a 93.7 mph four-seam fastball and 80.4 mph slider. Against right hand batters he will mix in a 85.3 mph changeup.
Nick Pivetta has been the Red Sox best starter in 2022. He’s put up a 3.23 ERA/3.68 FIP/4.07 xFIP over 94.2 innings. He’s posted a 23.6% strikeout rate and 8.3% walk rate, but the biggest improvement has come in keeping the ball in the park. His HR/9 is down to 0.95 from a 1.47 career rate. Pivetta works off a 93.3 mph four-seam fastball with his go to secondary pitch of choice being a 77.1 mph curveball. He will throw a 85.2 mph slider as his third pitch and is willing to throw it to batters from both sides of the box.
Former Ray Rich Hill was scheduled to pitch Wednesday, but he has been placed on the Injured List. It’s not known who the Red Sox will call up to make the start or if they will work a bullpen game.
Of note: Beeks and Springs were both traded to the Rays by the Boston in separate deals.
The Red Sox offense is carried by it’s three stars.
As a team the Red Sox are hitting .260/.325/.413 and putting up a 106 wRC+. They don’t hit for a ton of power as they have been out homered by the Rays 76 to 74. However they do get on base at the third highest rate in the league.
Rafael Devers (168 wRC+), JD Martinez (143 wRC+), and Xander Bogaerts (140 wRC+) have done the heavy lifting on the offensive side of the ball.
Trevor Story (93 wRC+), Alex Verdugo (93 wRC+), and Enrique Hernandez (70 wRC+) have been mediocre in everyday roles.
Christian Vasquez (115 wRC+) has stepped up offensively as the number one catcher.
Franchy Cordero (110 wRC+) has stepped up after he struggled in 2021 and started the season in AAA.
Christian Arroyo (80 wRC+), Bobby Dalbec (73 wRC+), and Jackie Bradley Jr. (59 wRC+) have been the weak links on the roster.