|4:10 PM PT5:10 PM MT6:10 PM CT7:10 PM ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 PM MST6:10 PM EST6:40 PM VEN3:10 UAE (+1)5:10 PM CT, June 22, 2021
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida Attendance: 12,994
Future is now as Rays face Red Sox with SS Wander Franco
Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
- The Red Sox swept a three-game series with the Rays in Boston in April, their first sweep of Tampa Bay since April 2019 and their first series win over the Rays since July 2019. Boston ranks second in the AL with 5.03 runs per game (Houston -- 5.68), while Tampa ranks second in the AL with a 3.38 ERA (Chicago -- 3.33).
- Boston has MLB's best road record this year at 23-12 (.657). This is the fifth time since 1940 that the Sox have had 23+ wins through 35 road games of a season (1975, 1986, 2002, and 2018). They won the AL pennant in three of those four previous campaigns (all but 2002).
- The Rays have lost six games in a row, their longest losing streak over the last three years, and have allowed five or more runs in each of their last five games. This is the only time in the last five seasons that Tampa has both lost and allowed 5+ runs in five straight games.
- Rafael Devers leads MLB this year in both road home runs, with 13 (t-most with Fernando Tatis Jr.), and road RBI, with 37. He has eight more homers and 17 more RBI on the road than he does at home, both of which are the largest differences by any AL hitter in 2021.
- Brandon Lowe is slashing .395/.510/.765 in his career against Boston. His .395 batting average is the best by any player versus any opponent since 2018 (minimum 100 PA).
- Ryan Yarbrough has a 7.99 ERA in seven games against the Red Sox since 2019, the highest mark by any pitcher versus any club in that span (minimum 30 IP). Eduardo Rodriguez has a 7.63 ERA since the start of May, the second-worst mark among the 96 pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched during that span (J.A. Happ -- 8.36).
- Indians changing name to Guardians
- Devers hits 2 HRs, BoSox top Yanks again
- Cruz homers in debut, Rays beat Indians
- Mets acquire veteran LHP Hill from Rays
- Dodgers' Bauer makes appearance in court
Amid a season-worst six-game skid, the Tampa Bay Rays are hopeful the midseason call-up of highly touted shortstop Wander Franco will provide a much-needed boost to get back on track.
Franco, ranked as baseball's No. 1 prospect by MLB.com, learned he was being called up from Triple-A Durham late Sunday and is expected to make his major league debut when the Rays play host to their American League East rival Boston Red Sox in the first of a three-game series Tuesday night.
"(I'm thankful) for you guys, thank you to Coach, thank you for (being my) teammates - I'm so happy right now," Franco told his Durham Bulls teammates after learning of his call-up in a video shared by the Rays on Twitter. "I liked playing with you guys - a very good team. Keep going - guys, I love you."
Franco has posted impressive offensive numbers this season and throughout his three-year minor league career. The 20-year-old native of Bani, Dominican Republic, hit .315 with seven home runs and 35 RBIs in 39 games with Durham this year.
Signed by the Rays as an international free agent in 2017, Franco posted a blistering .332 batting average, hit 27 homers and drove in 145 RBIs across 214 minor league games in Tampa Bay's farm system.
Franco's bat could help spark a Rays lineup that ranked 12th out of 15 teams in the American League in batting average (.229), and eighth in OPS (.704), following Tampa Bay's 6-2 loss in 10 innings at Seattle on Sunday. The Rays were outscored 23-13 by the Mariners during a four-game sweep over the weekend.
Andrew Kittredge (5-1, 1.34 ERA) will start Tuesday's game in an opener role for Tampa Bay. The right-hander has pitched to a 2.53 ERA in 15 career appearances against Boston. Left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who is 4-3 with a 4.14 ERA in 14 games (10 starts) this year, is expected to pitch the middle innings in relief of Kittredge.
The Red Sox enter play with a half-game lead over the Rays atop the AL East despite dropping two of three games at Kansas City over the weekend. Boston has played .500 baseball over its past 12 games.
"We've just gotta turn the page and get ready for Tampa," said Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi, who gave up four runs (three earned) over four innings in a 7-3 loss to the Royals on Sunday. "Turn the page as fast as we can and get ready to compete."
Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (5-4, 6.21 ERA) starts Tuesday's opener in search of his first win since May 7. Rodriguez lost four straight starts from May 12-31 and did not factor in the decision in his three starts after that - all wins by the Red Sox.
Rodriguez has allowed four or more runs in six of his past seven starts. In nine career starts against Tampa Bay, he is 1-3 with a 5.44 ERA -- his third-highest against an AL opponent.
Boston could be down a key player as hot-hitting second baseman Christian Arroyo left Sunday's game with a right shin bone bruise. Arroyo's X-ray exams were negative, and he will be re-evaluated after the team's flight to Tampa.
--Field Level Media
Updated June 22, 2021