After winning three consecutive series their AL East foes, the Tampa Bay Rays look to continue their run of success against the first place Boston Red Sox. While Tampa Bay can equal its high-water mark of four games over .500 with a win tonight, it won’t be easy.
Boston has the best big league record this season and is 9-4 against the Rays, who are 4–2 on their current road trip. Tampa Bay will face the first of three consecutive southpaws, yet there are four lefties in the Rays lineup tonight, which you can see below.
The New What Next
Ryne Stanek (0-2, 2.51 ERA) will open the game for the Rays and is likely to be followed by Yonny Chirinos (0-3, 3.50 ERA). They’ll be opposed by Brian Johnson (3-1, 3.21 ERA).
Ryne Stanek owns a 3.00 ERA through five appearances (six innings) this month, three of which have been opening stints. While he doesn’t pitch deep enough into games to factor into the decision, Stanek owns a useful 2.45 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 6.2 K/BB across 47-2/3 innings this season. He last pitched Thursday, a 2/3 inning stint against the Yankees, allowing one run on two hits.
Yonny Chirinos threw five innings and earned the win on August 9, allowing just one run on three hits (including a homer) while fanning four in the 5-4 win over Baltimore. Chirinos came in to start the third inning, relieving Rays opener Hunter Wood. The only real damage against him was a Renato Nunez solo home run. Chirinos now owns a 3.50 ERA/3.65 FIP, and a solid 8.35 K/9. He has gone 0-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts against Boston this season.
Brian Johnson gave up five earned runs in his previous start, but he won his past two decisions and holds a 3.25 ERA over the team’s last 60 games. Johnson has given up five runs on 11 hits over 4-1/3 innings against Tampa Bay this season (both relief appearances) and is 0-0 with a 13.50 ERA in three career appearances against the Rays. Key Matchups: CJ Cron (1-4), Matt Duffy (1-3), Mallex Smith (1-1), Jesus Sucre (1-1, 2B, RBI), Joey Wendle (1-1, 3B, RBI)
Rays 8/17/18 Starting Lineup
You can read about the series in our preview.
— Even though Jesus Sucre was likely to get the start behind the plate, he has been hampered by a sore right wrist caused by a check swing.
— Sidelined since July 4th, LHP Vidal Nuno (hamstring) will begin a rehab assignment tonight with the Charlotte Stone Crabs.