Thu, 28 Sep 2023

Rays look to topple Red Sox in finale of 4-game series

Field Level Media
05 Jun 2023, 13:19 GMT+10

After dropping the opener of a Saturday doubleheader to begin a four-game series in Boston, the Tampa Bay Rays asserted their American League East dominance by following with a pair of wins over the Red Sox.

The major-league-leading Rays will go for their third consecutive win to claim the series when they face host Boston in a rescheduled game on Monday afternoon.

The game was originally set as Friday's series opener before being postponed due to persistent rain and thunderstorms.

Tampa Bay was a 6-2 winner on Sunday while playing through several injuries. Wander Franco (hamstring), Jose Siri (shoulder) and Brandon Lowe (back) were all out of the lineup, leading Rays manager Kevin Cash to pencil down several possible lineup combinations prior to the game.

"There was a lot of stuff right there at the end that came down," Cash said. "It was a little hectic."

Without Siri available, Manuel Margot had to jump back into the outfield after a scary collision at the Green Monster during Saturday's twin bill.

The series of injuries led to changes in planned days off, but it did not faze the unselfish Rays.

"We're kind of a group of grinders," Tampa Bay outfielder Luke Raley said. "We play for one another. Sometimes people are dinged up and you know you've got to go out there with no bench and you've got to play through it. So it is what it is."

The Rays' Shane McClanahan (8-1, 2.07 ERA) looks to bounce back from his first loss of the season, when he allowed two runs on six hits across 5 2/3 innings last Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs. The southpaw had allowed just one run over back-to-back seven-inning outings prior to the setback.

McClanahan pitched an April 11 gem against the Red Sox, striking out nine over five innings of one-run ball. It was his fourth win in six career starts against Boston.

The Red Sox will turn to right-hander Brayan Bello (3-3, 3.89) in the series finale. Bello has taken back-to-back losses despite allowing just three combined runs against the Los Angeles Angels and Cincinnati Reds in his last two starts.

Bello is 0-1 and has a 10.13 ERA in two career starts against the Rays, both of which were last season. He surrendered nine runs in eight innings between those games.

While the Red Sox have scored no more than three runs in eight of their last 13 games, it is the defense that has ached Boston manager Alex Cora as of late.

"I'm the manager of this club and we've been sloppy," Cora said. "It's not about pointing fingers, right? The roster is the roster and we have to play better baseball."

The Red Sox have committed seven errors in their last six games, including two costly ones on Sunday.

"We just gotta clean it up in all facets," Boston outfielder Alex Verdugo said. "We're all professionals, we're all in the big leagues, we all know how to play."

Verdugo, who hits in the leadoff spot, has done his part at the plate, recording three hits in two of his last three games. All three of his hits on Sunday were for extra bases, as he ripped two doubles and a triple.

--Field Level Media

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