The Boston Red Sox (47-57) finish up their weekend series with the Tampa Bay Rays (51-53), hoping to avoid a sweep. The Rays handed Boston their 11th shutout of the season last night to clinch the series. Despite driving up the pitch count on starter Jeremy Hellickson to knock him out in the 5th inning, the Red Sox offense still couldn't must a single run.
After opening this road trip with a 14-run outburst in Toronto, the Red Sox have gone on to lose 5-straight since, while being outscored 30-11. After that win against the Blue Jays, Boston's offense had climbed all the way up to 10th in the AL in runs scored, but the losing streak has seen them plummet back down to 13th.
- Allen Webster (0-0, 0.00 ERA) has been called up for his first start of the season to fill the vacated spot left by the Jake Peavy trade. Webster was 4-4 with a 3.10 ERA in 21 games down in Pawtucket this season. His 100 strikeouts are the 4th most in the International League and he's held opponents to a .230 average, which ranks 5th. He's given up 3 runs or less in 18 of his 20 starts this season. His first taste of major league action last season didn't go very well (1-2, 8.60 ERA), but another year of development should have him better prepared this time.
- Mike Carp is in the lineup at 1B today, giving Mike Napoli a day off. Carp has requested a trade due to a lack of playing time this season, so it would be a good idea to get him some at-bats over the next few games to allow scouts from other teams to get a look at him. He's hitting only .215 this season, but has been limited to 79 at-bats. He was a valuable asset as a bat off the bench last year and could do the same for a playoff contender.
- Xander Bogaerts is out of the lineup today, with Brock Holt starting at 3B. Bogaerts has 7 hits in 24 at-bats (.291) on this road trip, which could be a sign that he's starting to come out of his extended slump. Meanwhile, Holt is in the middle of a rare slump with only 5 hits in 26 at-bats (.192) over the last 6 games.
- Chris Archer (6-5, 3.31 ERA) gets the start for Tampa Bay. He's done a great job of keeping the ball in the park this season, surrendering only 5 home runs all season – 3rd fewest in the majors among qualified starters. Daniel Nava is the only Red Sox player to ever homer off Archer, which may partially explain why Nava has been moved up to 2nd in the lineup today.
- Evan Longoria is sputtering through his worst season at the plate, with a .730 OPS that is over 100 points lower than the career low he posted last season. He leads the Rays with 12 HR and 53 RBI, but those numbers are still well off his usual pace.
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Tags: Allen Webster, Baseball, Boston, Boston Red Sox, Brock Holt, Daniel Nava, Mike Carp, MLB, Xander Bogaerts
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