Behold the sardine can that is Fenway Park, where the Rays will play their final regular season series starting Monday.

After dropping a second consecutive road series, the Tampa Bay Rays head to Boston, where they will start one last regular season series on Monday. The Red Sox were swept by the Blue Jays and held scoreless across 27 innings.

At 86-73, the Rays enter play 13 games above .500, while Boston enters play in the cellar of the division.

Consider this a battle between one team looking to improve its playoff position and another that is giving young guys a chance to audition for next season. Tampa Bay is trying to leapfrog Seattle and avoid playing Cleveland in the opening round of the American League postseason later this week. Boston, on the other hand, is going nowhere in the basement of the division. And while the Red Sox have nothing to play for, that doesn’t mean it will be easy for the Rays, who have been in the throes of a slow-moving skid for the better part of September.

The last week has been a microcosm of the month of September, with the Rays winnings just two of their last six games, and putting up an ice-cold .186 BA/.254 OBP/.279 SLG/.533 OPS line with a 59 wRC+ in so doing. Part of their malaise has been due to bad luck, which a .261 BABIP over the last seven days speaks to. However, their patience at the plate has also waned; they’ve posted a bloated 29% strikeout rate while walking just 7.6% of the time. Kevin Cash has also opted to stake one of Tampa Bay’s best hitters, Yandy Díaz, to the bench while he mends from a sore left shoulder. With the absence of his discerning eye in the batter’s box, the Rays become a much thinner team. He is not expected to play much over the next few days to rest his shoulder and be ready for the playoff series.

While Tampa Bay is below .500 on the road this season, they are 12-4 against Boston and 3-3 at Fenway. One last regular-season series win would be fantastic.

Pitching Probables

Over the next three days, Kevin Cash will turn to Tyler Glasnow (0-0, 3.00 ERA), Jeffrey Springs (9-4, 2.45 ERA), and Drew Rasmussen (11-7, 2.84 ERA). Alex Cora will counter with Dick Mountain Rich Hill (8-7, 4.41 ERA), Nathan Eovaldi (5-3, 4.05 ERA), and Nick Pivetta (10-12, 4.56 ERA).

Tyler Glasnow made his season debut on Wednesday and allowed one earned run on two hits (including a homer) and a walk while striking out three across three innings against the Guardians. Glasnow threw 50 pitches (32 strikes, 64% strike rate). He topped out at 99.4 mph on his fastball and averaged 98.1 mph — which would be his highest velocity across an entire season. The right-hander recorded his first strikeout in the second inning on an 84 mph cut-slider that ran down and in to Josh Naylor. His only blemish came in that inning when he missed on a fastball that Gabriel Arias turned on for his first career home run. Glasnow is expected to throw around 60 pitches on Monday and figures to serve a prominent role in the Rays’ postseason run.

Rich Hill allowed no runs on five hits and one walk with nine strikeouts over six innings against the Orioles on Wednesday. The 42-year-old turned back the clock as he fired six masterful innings. His nine punchouts were his second highest of the season, and this was his first quality start since August 27. The strong outing lowered Hill’s ERA to 4.41 on the season, with a 3.82 FIP, a 2.86 K/BB, and a 1.34 WHIP across 118.1 innings. Hill has been hit-or-miss against his former team this season, going 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA after allowing five runs on 15 hits including a homer. Key Matchups: Randy Arozarena (4-7, 2B, HR, 3 RBI), Ji-Man Choi (2-3), Francisco Mejía (1-3), David Peralta (5-17, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, BB), Harold Ramírez (2-7, 2B, 2 RBI, BB), Taylor Walls (1-3, BB)

Jeffrey Springs did not allow a run on three hits over six innings against Cleveland on Wednesday. He struck out five. Springs also did not allow an extra-base hit in his outstanding start against the Guardians. The left-hander has been phenomenal during his last six starts, recording a 1.44 ERA and 0.96 WHIP across 31.1 innings. Additionally, he has not allowed a home run in five of those six starts. Springs is 0-1 against Boston this season, allowing eight runs on 14 hits (including three home runs) across 15.0 innings of work (four outings, three starts).

Nathan Eovaldi allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and no walks while striking out three across 4.2 innings Thursday against Baltimore. Eovaldi was activated from the Injured List Thursday to make his first start since August 12. He was limited to 72 pitches as a result and was largely effective, although he coaxed just six swinging strikes. Eovaldi has maintained a 4.05 ERA and a 4.38 FIP, with a 5.5 K/BB across 104.1 frames on the campaign. This will be his first start against the Rays this season. Key Matchups: Ji-Man Choi (5-19, 2B, HR, 3 RBI), Manuel Margot (2-7), Francisco Mejía (2-7)

Drew Rasmussen allowed two earned runs on five hits (including a solo homer to Alex Bregman) and no walks while striking out three over seven innings on Friday in Houston. Rasmussen continued his fantastic campaign with a win over the best team in the American League to clinch the Rays a postseason birth. Rasmussen was incredibly efficient, throwing just 73 pitches (52 strikes, 71% strike rate). The right-hander has shown excellent control this season, walking only 31 batters in 146 innings. He is tentatively slated to make one last regular season tuneup in Boston on Wednesday. Overall, Rasmussen owns a 2.84 ERA and a 3.25 FIP, with a 4.03 K/BB, and a 1.04 FIP on the season. In one start against the Red Sox this season, Rasmussen has allowed three runs on four hits (including a homer) and a walk across six innings.

Nick Pivetta gave up five earned runs on six hits and four walks while striking out eight over five innings against the Yankees on September 24. He was knocked around by the Yankees, with the bulk of the damage coming on home runs off the bats of Gleyber Torres and Oswaldo Cabrera. Pivetta has now given up 11 earned runs over his past three starts, two of which came against New York. The 29-year-old has a K/BB of 2.51 in 170.2 innings this season to go along with a 4.56 ERA and a 4.39 FIP, with a 1.37 WHIP. Pivetta is 0-3 with a 7.47 ERA across three starts (15.2 innings) against Tampa Bay this season. Key Matchups: Randy Arozarena (3-10, 2 2B, 2 BB), Yandy Díaz (4-14, 3 2B, 3 BB), Isaac Paredes (3-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB), David Peralta (4-9, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB), Harold Ramírez (4-10, 3B)


— LHRP Jalen Beeks told Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) his right leg was feeling better and he was ready to be activated Monday, the first day he is eligible to come off the 15-day injured list.

— The Rays made a flurry of roster moves ahead of the series opener:

RHP Easton McGee was designated for assignment.

INF/OF Miles Mastrobuoni was optioned to Triple-A.

INF/OF Vidal Bruján has been recalled.

RHP Kevin Herget was selected from Durham.

LHP Josh Fleming and C René Pinto have been added to the taxi squad.