The Tampa Bay Rays will face the Boston Red Sox tonight in the first of two face-offs. The Rays, two games behind the Orioles, are looking to take first place in the East while the Red Sox fight for .500.
The matchup is the 12th time these teams meet this season. The Rays are 9-2 in the season series. They will meet again Wednesday.
For the Rays, they are expected to start Zach Eflin on the mound. He is 15-8 on the season with a 3.44 ERA and 182 strikeouts. On Boston’s side, the Red Sox are expected to start Tanner Houck. Houck is 5-9 on the season with a 4.92 ERA and 91 strikeouts.
Injuries are piling up for both teams who each have nine or more players on the injury list.
Triston Casas and Luis Urias lead the list for the Red Sox, both on 10-day IL. In addition to those two, James Paxton, Jarren Duran, Corey Kluber, Joely Rodriguez, Kaleb Ort, Wyatt Mills and Adalberto Mondesi are all on 15 or more days IL.
For the Rays, Yandy Diaz is day-to-day with a hamstring. In addition to that, Jason Adam, Brandon Lowe, Calvin Faucher, Randy Arozarena, Luke Raley, Greg Jones, Jose Siri, Shane McClanahan, Drew Rasmussen, Garrett Cleavinger, Jeffrey Springs and Shane Baz are all on 10 or more days IL.
The Boston Red Sox star performer this season is third baseman Rafael Devers. On the season, he has 34 doubles, 33 home runs and 98 RBI. The American League named him Player of the Week last week.
It's always good to be Rafael Devers.
But especially this week. pic.twitter.com/FTJE6sYR20
— Red Sox (@RedSox) September 18, 2023
For the Rays, Yandy Diaz is the star of the show. The first baseman has 35 doubles, 21 home runs and 76 RBI.
The Season Ahead
Tampa Bay has already secured a playoff spot, clinching it Sept. 17. Sitting two games behind the Orioles, there are five games left for them to take the first seed in the AL East. The Rays play two games against the Red Sox, including tonight’s game, and three against the Blue Jays. The Rays are coming off of a three-game series with the Blue Jays, where the Rays went 1-2. That win, however, came in walk-off fashion.
The Orioles have six remaining games. They play two games against the Washington Nationals and four against the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox will miss the 2023 MLB Playoffs. At 76-80, Boston has the worst record in the AL East and is currently on a two-game skid.