Following their first sub .500 homestand of the season, the Tampa Bay Rays will hit the road for a three-city, 10-game road trip starting Friday. Their first stop is Boston, where they’ll take on the Red Sox over the next three days.
The Rays are coming off a series win against the Royals, while the Red Sox split a four-game set against the Detroit Tigers. Tampa Bay seeks to exact some revenge on the sub .500 Red Sox after a three-game sweep last weekend.
The concern with the Rays right now happens to be on the injury front. Joey Wendle went down with a fractured wrist on Wednesday and isn’t expected to return for six-to-eight weeks — a total that will be updated. Then again, Tampa Bay has only played eight games with a healthy Wendle this season, so… Matt Duffy is still on the Injured List, although he is close to returning. Ji-Man Choi should rejoin the lineup on Friday after, essentially, six days off. However, the biggest loss for the Rays is Austin Meadows, who won’t return from the IL, with a sprained thumb, for another two-and-a-half weeks.
Taking Wendle’s place on the roster will be INF Christian Arroyo, who was promoted from Triple-A Durham. Arroyo has slashed .310 BA/.370 OBP/.548 SLG/.918 OPS/.392 wOBA with nine RBI and two homers for Durham so far.
Meanwhile, Boston appears to be turning a corner, although they have performed under the league average in wRC+ over the last 14 days. Their -3.5 wRAA over the same stretch isn’t much to write home about either. Still, Tampa Bay can attest to how dangerous the Red Sox lineup can be after last weekend’s embarrassing spate of play. The Red Sox clearly are beatable, but the Rays will need to do better than go 4-for-23 wRISP (.173 BA) as they did a week ago.
A lot of us were very bitter after this past weekend, coming up on the short end of the stick three games in a row. We know what we want to accomplish this weekend. We want to get back at them. They play good baseball. We definitely had our chances that we didn’t take advantage of, but that’s baseball sometimes. … Definitely we want to go up there and beat them at their place and win a series, and try to do the same thing they did to us. We want to win all three. We have the talent. We have the guys to do it.
It’ll be a big test for us. It’s an important series for us getting revenge and proving to ourselves we can still beat the best teams in baseball. And we will.— Kevin Kiermaier
Over the next couple of days, Kevin Cash will lean on Charlie Morton (2-0, 3.38 ERA) and Tyler Glasnow (4-0, 1.53 ERA). Alex Cora will respond with David Price (1-1, 3.75 ERA) and Chris Sale (0-4, 7.43 ERA).
Charlie Morton coughed up five early runs on five hits and two walks over six innings on Saturday while striking out nine. The big blow off Morton came on a second-inning grand slam by Andrew Benintendi. Yet Morton was able to shake it off and shut Boston down for the next four frames, giving his team a chance to mount a comeback and eventually tie things up in the eighth. Morton will take a 3.38 ERA and a 2.83 K/BB across 26-2/3 innings into his rematch against the Red Sox, in Boston.
David Price fanned 10 and allowed two runs on two walks and five hits in a five-inning no-decision against the Rays on Sunday. It was the former ace’s first 10-strikeout game of the season; his first double-digit strikeout game since late last season. Sunday’s strong outing gives Price an excellent 6 K/BB across 24 innings this season. Key Matchups: Christian Arroyo (1-2), Kevin Kiermaier (5-19, 2 2B, HR, RBI, BB), Micahel Perez (2-5), Daniel Robertson (3-11, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 3 BB)
Tyler Glasnow struck out five and allowed two runs on three walks and three hits over 5-1/3 innings on Sunday. Coming into Sunday’s start, the right-hander had issued just three free passes in 24 innings but matched that total against Boston. He also threw just 49 of 76 pitches for strikes (64% strike rate), yet made the big pitch when he needed to. Still, Glasnow owns a terrific 4.83 K/BB and a 1.53 ERA this season. The right-hander will try to get his revenge against Boston on Saturday.
Chris Sale gave up two earned runs on five hits over five innings of work in his last start. He fanned 10 and walked two in the Red Sox 7-4 loss. Sale shut out the Tigers over the first three frames but yielded single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, the latter on a solo homer. The southpaw struck out two batters in each inning, throwing 97 pitches overall (72 strikes, 74% strike rate). This season Sale has relied primarily on a 78 mph sweeping slider, a 93 mph four-seam fastball with heavy sinking action and arm-side run, and an 85 mph circle changeup with obvious arm-side fade that dives down out of the zone, while also mixing in a 92 mph sinker with obvious tail and natural sinking action. Key Matchups: Willy Adames (1-3, HR, RBI), Yandy Diaz (2-3, 2B, RBI, BB), Avisail Garcia (3-6, 2B), Kevin Kiermaier (5-17, HR, 3 RBI, BB)