After a disappointing start to the homestand, punctuated by a pair of losses to the Chicago White Sox, the Tampa Bay Rays will play host to the Boston Red Sox for a three-game series, starting Monday. The Red Sox are also coming off a series loss, having dropped two of three to the Orioles.
The Rays have been in a slide of late, losing five out of their last six games overall. The bats have gone cold, plating three or fewer runs in five out of their last six contests, following the 5-4 Travis d’Arnuad home run fueled win over the Yankees a week ago. Making things worse, the Rays are playing without Kevin Keirmaier and Brandon Lowe who have been a big part of the offense up to now.
In spite of the series loss to Baltimore, the Red Sox have played well on the road where they have won five out of their last seven games.
Still, after the dropped three straight to Boston in April, the Rays have won five of the last six contests between the two — all at Fenway. To put it bluntly, the Rays need a series win, and to do so they need to play as they had previously against Boston, and less as they had recently against the Yankees and White Sox. Winning two-out-of-three (in the least) would put some distance between the second and third place teams in the AL East.
The Rays should receive some reinforcements with a pair of infielders who set to return to the fold sometime this week.
Matt Duffy, who hit a home run in his final rehab game in Durham on Saturday, flew back to St. Petersburg on Sunday and will be activated at some point the next few days.
Duffy (hamstring) will slot in at third base and shortstop and presents a much-needed, right-handed addition to a Rays lineup that is looking for a spark.
We just have to see how our pitching lines up. We look forward to having him back. He’s taken the long road back, but we’re excited to have him back.— Kevin Cash
Daniel Robertson (right knee inflammation) will head to Port Charlotte to begin his rehab assignment with the Class-A Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs. He’ll play a couple of games there before heading to Durham to complete the assignment.
Rays Pitching Probables
Over the next three days, Kevin Cash will throw Jalen Beeks (5-0, 2.78 ERA), Yonny Chirinos (8-5, 3.29 ERA), and Charlie Morton (11-3, 2.61 ERA). Alex Cora will counter with Eduardo Rodríguez (11-4, 4.34 ERA), Chris Sale (4-9, 4.05 ERA), and David Price (7-3, 3.61 ERA).
Jalen Beeks allowed one run on two hits and one walk across 3-1/3 innings during on Tuesday. He struck out five and did not factor in the decision. Beeks kept the Yankees scoreless through his first three innings as the bulk reliever, but he was pulled in the sixth inning after he allowed a solo homer and a single with one out. The left-hander has a 2.78 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and a 2.43 K/BB over 64-2/3 innings. Beeks is 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in two career outings (9-1/3 IP) against his former team.
Eduardo Rodriguez gave up two runs on three hits and three walks over 6-1/3 innings his last turn. He struck out four. Rodriguez has now won three straight starts and five consecutive decisions, with his last loss coming on June 9th. The left-hander maintains a 4.34 ERA and a 3.24 K/BB across 116 innings. Rodriguez is 0-3 with a 6.41 ERA in eight career starts against Tampa Bay, and 0-2 with a 7.11 ERA in four starts at the Trop. Key Matchups: Yandy Diaz (4-5, BB), Matt Duffy (1-2), Avisail Garcia (2-8, 3B, RBI, 2 BB), Austin Meadows (1-3), Tommy Pham (4-11, 2B, RBI)
Yonny Chirinos gave up five runs (four earned) on nine hits over five innings against the Yankees, striking out eight and walking two in the 6-2 loos. Chirinos couldn’t extend his run of seven consecutive quality starts but emerged with a decent line against a tough Yankees lineup that he’s fared well against this season. Even so, Chirinos is sporting a 3.29 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP, and a 4.04 K/BB across 112 innings. He has faired well in his career against Boston, going 1-1 with a 2.88 ERA in five games (three starts).
Chris Sale allowed two hits and two walks while striking out 12 across six scoreless innings on Thursday against the Blue Jays. Sale dominated the Blue Jays by generating 20 whiffs. Both hits he allowed were base hits, and he only allowed one runner to get into scoring position throughout his outing. While his 4.05 ERA is disappointing, his 172 strikeouts and 1.08 WHIP across 117-2/3 frames show how dangerous he can be to a team that hasn’t had much success against the southpaw. Sale is 9-6 with a 2.94 ERA in 17 career starts against the Rays, and 4-3 with a 1.92 ERA in nine starts at the Trop. Key Matchup: Yandy Diaz (4-6, 2 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, BB)
Charlie Morton gave up five earned runs on five hits across 5-2/3 innings on Thursday, striking out four and walking four. The righty struggled with his control in issuing four free passes, yet he is still having a fantastic season, maintaining a 2.61 ERA to go along with a 1.06 WHIP and a 3.71 K/BB across 124-1/3 innings. Morton is 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA in six career starts against Boston.
David Price allowed six runs on eight hits with one walk and four strikeouts across four against the Orioles on Friday. The former Ray hadn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last five turns, and during that stretch, he went 3-0. But for the second time this season, Price allowed six runs, and the eight hits he relinquished set a new season-high. Price owns a 3.61 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 106 strikeouts in 92-1/3 innings this season. Since leaving Tampa Bay, Price is 6-5 with a 3.16 ERA in 16 starts against his former team. Key Matchup: Yandy Diaz (4-10, HR, RBI, 2 BB)
— If the Rays can’t beat up on Boston’s starters, they’ll get a chance against the ‘pen, which maintains an overall 4.53 ERA and 4.25 FIP (5.50 ERA and 4.61 FIP over the last 14 days).
— Due to the poor spate of play, the Rays chances of a playoff berth dropped off by 20% (give or take).