Thursday, July 18, 2024
Fantasy Guru - Baseball

MLB Preview: Boston Red Sox (72-67) at Tampa Bay Rays (84-55)

BOSTON RED SOX NOTES:

STATE OF THE SOX: The Red Sox have won 3 of their last 4 games following a season-high-tying 5-game losing streak. The Sox are 15-15 in their last 30 games, since 8/5. At 72-67 (.518), Boston is tied with the Cincinnati Reds, for MLB’s 13th-best record.

SERIES BUSINESS: With a win today, the Red Sox would improve to 24-18-3 in series play overall, including 11-9-3 in road series. The Red Sox have already surpassed their series win total from 2022 (22-24-6)…They’ve matched their total number of road series wins from last season (10-14-2). The Sox are 2-0-1 in their last 3 road series, after losing each of their previous 4 from 7/17-8/19. Boston is 11-8 in rubber games this season

EASTERN STANDARD: Monday the Red Sox began a stretch of 13 consecutive games against AL East teams, facing each divisional opponent over the stretch (3 at TB, 3 vs. BAL, 4 vs. NYY, 3 at TOR). 17 of the Sox’ 23 remaining games will be against AL East opponents (BAL-7, NYY-4, TB-3, TOR-3). The Red Sox are 20-15 against AL East teams this season (6-4-0 in series), after going 26-50 in 2022 (6-17-1 in series).

SOX & RAYS: A win today would clinch Boston’s 1st series win at Tropicana Field since 8/31-9/2/21. The Red Sox have lost 13 of their last 14 games at Tropicana Field, including a a 13-game losing streak from 4/23/22-9/4/23 (their longest losing streak ever at the venue). Monday was the teams’ 1st meeting since 6/3-5,
when TB won a 4-game series at Fenway Park (3- 1)…BOS is 2-8 vs. TB this season. The Sox are 27-50 vs. TB since the start of 2019, their most losses to any opponent in that span.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: The Red Sox’ next 2 series will be against the teams with the best records in the AL (TB, BAL). 16 of the Sox’ remaining 22 games will be against teams that currently have a winning record (BAL-7, TB-4, TEX-3, TOR-3). BOS is 45-41 against teams with a current record of .500 or better, and 27-26 against teams below .500.

NO TIME TO REST: Boston will finish the regular season with a stretch of 28 games in 31 days from 9/1-10/1…They have scheduled off days on 9/7, 9/21, and 9/25.
Following their off day on Thursday, the Sox will play 13 games on consecutive days from 9/8-20 (3 vs. BAL, 4 vs. NYY, 3 at TOR, 3 at TEX).

LATE SURGE: Boston has scored 301 runs in innings 6-9, 3rd most in the AL behind HOU (316), and TB (305). The Red Sox lead MLB in hits (541) and AVG (.264) during those innings…They lead the AL in OPS (.776), rank 2nd in SLG (.441) and rank 3rd in OBP (.334).

FOREVER AND DEVERS: Yesterday Rafael Devers’ doubled in the 6th inning…It was 394th career XBH, tying Mookie Betts for 22nd most in Red Sox history (see table on the right). Devers is 1 HR shy of his 3rd career 30-HR season (32 in 2019, 38 in 2021)…He’d join Ted Williams and Jim Rice as the only Red Sox players with three 30-HR seasons prior to turning 27.

PICK YOUR POISON: Three Red Sox players rank in the AL’s top 10 in OPS, more than any other team…They also have 3 representatives in the AL’s top 15 in AVG and OBP.

ON THE OFFENSIVE: The Red Sox lead MLB in doubles (302)…Among AL teams, they rank 2nd in AVG (.264) and XBH (484), 3rd in SLG (.438) and OPS (.768), and 5th in OBP (.330).

SLUGGING SOX: The Red Sox have homered in 23 of their last 24 games (38 total HR), and 31 of their last 33 games since 8/1. The Sox have hit multiple HR in 6 of their last 12 games. Boston has hit 32 HR in their last 19 games since 8/17, T-4th-most in MLB in that span (PHI-42, SEA-37, NYY-36, HOU-32, MIN-32, and NYM-32).
The Red Sox have an AL leading 52 HR from rookies this season, including 4 over their last 3 games.

RISPY BUSINESS: With RISP, Boston ranks 2nd in MLB in hits (344), 3rd in AVG (.280) and 6th in OBP (.355). With RISP and 0 or 1 out, they rank 2nd in the AL with a .302 AVG (BAL-.303). The Sox are 14-for-43 (.326 AVG) with RISP in their last 4 games, after going 5-for-28 (.179 AVG) in their previous 5.

SCORING IN BUNCHES: The Red Sox have scored multiple runs in an inning at least once in 21 of their last 22 games (36 multi-run innings over that span). Since 6/1, they are 32-4 in games when they score 3+ runs in at least 1 inning.

HIGH FIVE: The Red Sox are 59-10 (.855) when scoring 5+ runs, the 2nd-best record in MLB behind SEA (58-9, .866). They’ve scored more than 5 runs in each of their last 4 games, after doing so in just 2 of their previous 7. Since 6/14, the Sox are 32-4 when scoring 5+ runs.

HANG TEN: Boston has recorded 10+ hits in 58 games, 3rd most in MLB behind TEX (63) and ATL (62). They have done so in 12 of their last 22 games, recording at least 9 hits in 15 of those 22.

LOCK IT DOWN: Boston owns MLB’s best record when leading after 6 innings (56-3, .950)…In 2022, they ranked 18th in MLB when leading after 6 (63-10, .863). The Sox lead MLB in save % (75.5; 40-for-53), after ranking 24th last season (57.4; 39-for-68). 10 Red Sox pitchers have earned at least 1 save, tied with LAD for most in MLB.

MARTY PARTY: Since 6/9, Chris Martin has allowed only 1 run over his last 32 outings (28.2 IP)…He leads MLB with a 0.31 ERA in that span (min. 20.0 IP). Overall, his 1.17 ERA (6 ER/46.1 IP) is 4th best in the majors (min. 40.0 IP). He has not allowed a run over his last 14.0 IP, the 4th longest active scoreless streak among relief pitchers…The streak also ranks 3.1 innings behind his career long 17.1 IP from 9/4/22-4/9/23.

TONIGHT’S STARTER: 37 NICK PIVETTA – RHP
W-L ERA G GS IP ER HR BB SO WHIP AVG
2023 9-7 4.49 33 11 112.1 56 20 45 145 1.20 .214
CAREER 49-57 4.95 191 147 853.1 469 144 336 929 1.37 .254

Is starting for the 1st time since 8/15 at WSH. Recorded a 3.0-inning save Saturday at KC (1 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 5 SO)…Marked his 1st save of 2023, the 3rd of his career…Was the Sox’ 5th save of 3.0+ innings this season, their 1st with 5+ SO since Tim Wakefield on 4/24/01 vs. MIN. Leads BOS in strikeouts (145) and ranks 2nd in innings pitched (112.1). Held TB to 3 hits over 5.0 scoreless innings in his lone start against them this season. Has recorded a career-high strikeout rate of 30.7%…Since 6/18, has struck out 38.4% of batters faced (59.0 IP, 89 SO, 19 BB, 232 BF). Among the 150 pitchers with 50.0+ IP since 5/28, Pivetta ranks 1st in strikeout rate (35.8%), 2nd in opponent AVG, 3rd in SO/BB (26.6%), and 10th in WHIP.

TAMPA BAY RAYS NOTES:

RAY REPORT — Tampa Bay continues a seven-game, seven-day homestand featuring matchups with Boston and Seattle tonight at Tropicana Field…the Rays are 22-12 in their last 34 games, including wins in 10 of 14, 12 of 17 and 15 of their last 22, following an MLB-worst 5-15 (.250) stretch from 7/1-26…they currently occupy the first AL Wild Card spot, leading Seattle by 6.5 games and Toronto by 7.0 games…with 23 games remaining, Tampa Bay is a 3.5 games behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East after spending 111 consecutive days atop the division from 3/30-7/19. Tampa Bay looks to earn its 11th consecutive home series victory over Boston…the Rays have not dropped a series at Tropicana Field to the Red Sox since 7/22-24, 2019. The Rays have won nine of their last 11 series on the heels of a 2-7-2 performance in series play from 6/12-7/26…their 22-12 (.647) record during that span (since 7/28) is third best in the AL behind the Mariners and Orioles (both 25-11, .694). Last night’s 3 hour and 57 minute contest marked Tampa Bay’s longest game of the season…it marked the Rays longest game since playing a 4 hour and 6 minute contest on 9/27/22 at Cleveland and their longest game at Tropicana Field since 6/29/22 vs. Milwaukee (4 hours). Rays hitters drew a season-high nine walks in last night’s victory…it marked their most walks in a game since drawing 13 free passes on 8/5/22 at Detroit. Tampa Bay continues the month of September with 17 games in 17 consecutive days before its first of three off days during the month (9/18, 9/25, 9/28)…the Rays remaining opponents have a combined winning pct. of .547, the fourth-highest mark in the majors behind the Nationals (.557), Cardinals (.553) and Red Sox (.551).

DAWGS GOTTA EAT — Brandon Lowe has reached base safely in a career-best 15 consecutive games, surpassing his 14-game run from 4/1-17, 2019…it is the third-longest on-base streak by a Ray this season, behind Yandy Díaz (22G from 4/27-5/28) and Randy Arozarena (20G from 4/17-5/9)…it is tied with BOS Triston Casas and CWS Yoán Moncada for the third-longest active run in the AL, trailing TOR Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (21G) and SEA Teoscar Hernández (20G). In six home games vs. Boston this season, he is batting .350 (7-for-20) with one double, 4 HR and 10 RBI…in 33 career home games against the Red Sox, he has homered 11 times and driven in 26 runs. Last night marked Lowe’s fourth career walk-off plate appearance, including his second walk-off home run (4/21/23 vs. CWS off Reynaldo López)…he joins OAK Brent Rooker (2HR) as the only players in the majors with multiple walk-off home runs this season…his three walk-off plate appearances overall are tied with BOS Alex Verdugo, STL Tommy Edman and teammate Randy Arozarena for the major league lead. Lowe has produced 10 RBI in his last three games at Tropicana Field, tying Evan Longoria (4/30-5/2, 2009) for the most in a three-game span at home in club history…the Rays record for a four-game span at home within a single season is 12 RBI, held by Carlos Peña (8/26-9/5, 2007).

EXTRA, EXTRA! — René Pinto has recorded an extra-base hit in a career-best four consecutive games…it is tied with SD Xander Bogaerts, SEA Dominic Canzone and BAL Jordan Westburg for the longest active run in the majors and matches the longest streak by a Rays hitter this season (7x)…he is batting .357 (10-for-28) with two doubles and 3 HR over his last 12 games dating back to 8/18.

EAST FEATS — Yandy Díaz has reached base safely in 28 straight games against AL East opponents dating back to 4/16 at Toronto…he is slashing .299/.414/.505 (32-for-107) with seven doubles, 5 HR, 19 RBI and 17 walks during the run…in 67 career games against the Red Sox, he is batting .340 (82-for-241) with 18 doubles, two triples, 8 HR and 34 RBI… his .340 AVG against Boston is the highest among all active players in the majors (min. 175AB), ahead of TOR Bo Bichette and TOR George Springer (both .328). Isaac Paredes has reached base safely in each of his last 22 games against AL East foes since 5/12 at New York-AL…he is slashing .304/.461/.507 (21-for-69) with two doubles, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 7 HBP and 13 walks against 13 strikeouts during that run.

HOMER HAPPY — Tampa Bay’s 200 home runs are tied with Los Angeles-AL for third-most in the majors, trailing Atlanta (263HR) and Los Angeles-NL (214HR)…the Rays 200 HR are their most through 139 games in club history, outpacing the 2017 club (197HR). It marks the fifth time in franchise history Tampa Bay has reached 200 homers in a season (2017: 228 HR, 2021: 222 HR, 2019: 217 HR and 2016: 216 HR). The Rays have hit 95 HR at home this year, tied for seventh most in a season in team history…with 11 home games remaining, the 2023 club needs 11 HR to match the 2017 Rays (106HR) for the most long balls at home in a single season. Tampa Bay currently has seven players who have hit 18+ home runs this season, tied with Atlanta for the MLB lead…the previous franchise record was held by the 2019 Rays, who had five players with 18+ HR (Willy Adames, Ji Man Choi, Avisaíl García, Austin Meadows, Tommy Pham).

WEARING IT — Tampa Bay batters have been hit by a pitch 82 times this season, fourth most in the majors behind Seattle (100HBP), New York-NL (90HBP) and Cincinnati (85HBP)…it marks the club’s third-most HBP in a single season behind the 2018 Rays (101HBP) and 2015 Rays (84HBP). Isaac Paredes has been plunked a team-leading 19 times, the fourth most in a single season in club history, behind Brandon Guyer (24HBP in 2015, 23HBP in 2016) and Carlos Gómez (21HBP in 2018)…the 19 HBP are tied with CLE Andres Giménez for second most in the majors behind SEA Ty France (30HBP).

SHIPPING DOWN TO TAMPA BAY — The Rays and Red Sox conclude a three-game set tonight at Tropicana Field…Tampa Bay swept Boston in a four-game series at home from 4/10-13 and took three of four games at Fenway Park from 6/3-5…the Rays are 33-19 (.635) against the Red Sox at Tropicana Field since 2018.

TONIGHT’S STARTER: RHP TYLER GLASNOW (7-5, 3.17)
TONIGHT’S START — The righty makes his 17th start of the season and eighth at Tropicana Field…since the All-Star break, he has recorded a 2.42 ERA (52.0IP, 14ER) and 0.90 WHIP while holding opponents to a .191/.233/.271 (36-for-188) line; all marks lead AL pitchers during that span (min. 50.0IP)…has thrown 6.0+ innings in a career-best eight consecutive starts…the Rays are 5-2 in his last seven appearances.

LAST TIME OUT—Took the loss despite matching a season high with 7.0 innings pitched on 9/1 at Cleveland (7.0IP, 7H, 3ER, 6SO)…allowed a game-tying sacrifice fly in the third frame before Gabriel Arias and Bo Naylor tagged him for back-to-back RBI hits in his final inning of work…prior to that, he had held the Guardians hitless with RISP (0-for-6)…this season, the Rays are 8-1 when he walks multiple batters compared to 1-6 when he issues one or zero walks.

RED SOX REDUX — Glasnow has turned in a 1.20 ERA (15.0IP, 2ER) over his last three starts against Boston dating back to the 2021 season, recording 13.20 strikeouts per 9.0 IP in those games…his lone appearance against the Red Sox in 2023 came in his first road start of the season — he tossed 5.1 innings of one-run ball at Fenway Park on 6/3 (G2) in a 4-2 Rays win (5.1IP, 4H, ER, 3BB, 6SO)…his nine career starts opposite the Red Sox are tied with the Yankees for his most against any opponent. He is 2-1 with a 3.03 ERA (29.2IP, 10ER) in five starts vs. the AL East this season…he has tossed quality starts in each of his last three outings against the division, going 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA (20.0IP, 3ER) in those games (7/20 vs. BAL, 7/31 at NYY, 8/26 vs. NYY).

ON TOP AT THE TROP — Glasnow has yielded two or fewer earned runs in each of his last five home starts dating back to 6/25, posting a 1.47 ERA (30.2IP, 5ER) and a 0.68 WHIP in those contests while holding opponents to a .142/.186/.189 (15-for-106) line and allowing two extra-base hits (2B, HR)… he ranks among MLB leaders at home during that timeframe (min. 25.0IP) in WHIP (1st), opp. OPS (1st, .375), ERA (4th) and strikeout rate (4th, 36.3%). The Rays are 4-4 in his starts at Tropicana Field…they have provided him with only 3.09 runs of support per 9.0 IP in his last six home outings (3-3).

WORKING LATE — He has thrown 6.0+ innings in each of his last eight starts, the longest streak by a Rays pitcher since Shane McClanahan’s 13-start run from 5/11-7/26, 2022…it marks the fourth-longest active streak in the majors, trailing PHI Zack Wheeler (10GS), MIN Sonny Gray (9GS) and SD Joe Musgrove (9GS).…Glasnow’s streak includes three straight starts of 7.0+ innings from 7/20-31, matching the longest such streak of his career (also 5/26-6/8, 2021). Glasnow’s seven quality starts since the All-Star break are tied for second most in the AL behind NYY Gerrit Cole and MIN Sonny Gray (8QS each)…on the season, the Rays are 32-13 when their
starting pitcher records a quality start. He has earned a decision in each of his last six starts, matching the longest streak of his career (last: 4/12-5/8, 2021).

STRIKEOUT ARTIST — Glasnow’s 31.7% strikeout rate since making his season debut on 5/27 (min. 300BF) leads the AL, ahead of TOR Kevin Gausman (31.0%)…his 35.1 pct. whiff rate since his debut also paces the AL (min. 350 pitches swung at), outpacing CWS Dylan Cease (34.5%)…he has recorded 252 total swings-and-misses this season, tied for sixth most in the majors since 5/27…his 120 strikeouts are fifth most through a Rays pitcher’s first 16 starts of a season in franchise history. Glasnow has a 42.8 pct. whiff rate on his breaking pitches (slider/ curveball), the second-highest mark in the AL (min. 300 pitches swung at) behind BAL Kyle Gibson (46.5%)…his 52.1 pct. curveball whiff rate ranks second in the majors (min. 100 curveballs swung at) behind SD Blake Snell (55.0%). Fanned Luis Arraez on 7/25 vs. Miami for his 600th career strikeout…per Elias, he became the 15th fastest pitcher in MLB history to reach the 600-strikeout mark by innings (467.1IP). He is 10 strikeouts shy of matching Matt Moore (494SO) for the eight-most punchouts in franchise history.

RIGHT ON — Glasnow has held right-handed batters to a .167 batting average, the second-lowest mark in the majors (min. 150AB) behind TEX Aroldis Chapman (.167)…righties are just 2-for-27 (.074) with one extra-base hit (2B) against his curveball.

World Elite Syndicate

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