In the final game before the unofficial "halfway point" in the MLB season, the Boston Red Sox will be looking to sweep the Tampa Bay Rays and further cement their place as a contender in the American League East. The Red Sox were able to win yesterday's matchup behind a dazzling performance by Slick Rick Porcello. This was an important victory for the Red Sox, as they have had trouble closing out tight, low-scoring match-ups this season.
The Red Sox will be sending David Price to the mound with the hopes that he will be able to deliver a lockdown performance against a weak-hitting Tampa Bay Rays team. Last time out, Price was able to get over some first inning troubles and dominate the Texas Rangers, especially towards the end of the game. Price was able to go eight innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out 10. Unfortunately, Price has had a wildly disappointing start to his Red Sox career, as he is 8-6 with a 4.64 ERA and has lost three of his last five starts. In his career against the Tampa Bay Rays, since being traded from the organization, Price is 1-3 with a 6.52 ERA in five starts.
The Tampa Bay Rays will counter with Jake Odorizzi, who comes into today's contest with a 3-4 record and a 4.33 ERA. Last time out against the Anaheim Angels, Odorizzi struggled. After only needing seven pitches to get through the first inning, Odorizzi relinquished four runs in the second and seven in total on a disappointing day. Like Price, Odorizzi has struggled all season and would like to have a solid outing before the All-Star Break.
In some lineup and transaction notes, Sean O'Sullivan was placed on the 15-day disabled list with knee tendinitis, which created a spot on the 40-man roster for newly acquired reliever Brad Ziegler. Additionally, this is the second straight day that we will not be seeing Hanley Ramirez who, for those that don't remember, fouled a ball off his left shin Friday night. I am not all that surprised with Farrell's decision not to play Han-Ram; he has had little nagging injuries during the entire first half and could use the extra time to get healthy.