Previewing the Red Sox | The Process Report

Previewing the Red Sox

Much like this series the preview will be just a quickie. Needless to say the Rays need to win both of these games. A task that doesn’t look all that likely. Stranger things have happened when attempting to predict baseball. All data is over last 30 days and due to so many players changing teams at the trade deadline I have included their entire performance over last 30 days as if it were with their new team. Small things, but I wanted to be transparent here.

Boston as pitched their butts off over the last month facing the third most batters. The Rays were closer to the league average, give up slightly harder expected production on balls in play with more walks and fewer strikeouts. All that and the Rays have essentially pitched like a league average team if not a little better. The Red Sox, however, have pitched like the fifth best team over this timeframe and should not be taken lightly.

Sale gets all the accolades, as he should. He’s really good, and of course over a two game series the Rays have to face him. Their pen is also good with Barnes and Workman looking very good. Recall, David Price is back on the disabled list, but Rick Porcello still looks like ass and will be on the bump for the series finale tomorrow. The Rays will throw their own Austin Pruitt tonight with Jake Odorizzi coming back from the disabled list for tomorrow’s affair. Pruitt has looked something like a better than league average starter over his last two starts, but it’s still pretty small sample. At least he looks like he’s deserving his marks for balls in play so if he can continue that while keeping the solid strikeout to walk ratio then he should throw surprising competence. Odorizzi, on the other hand is a complete mystery. I thought he was pitching through something ever since his first stint on the disabled list so hopefully this one got him right. If it’s more of the same then that’s not something a Rays fan will want to see.

Switching over to the bats you can see that you are not crazy. The Rays offense has been putrid of late. Somehow, the Boston has been even worse. Tampa Bay walks at a higher rate while striking out a little more, too. They also hit the ball harder, though this is a dramatic step down from where they were earlier this year.

The offense revolves around two guys for the Rays. If Duda and Souza can’t do it than the Rays probably aren’t going to win that game. Longo has looked better of late, but a lot of it is from good fortune on balls in play. Cutting his strikeouts of late has helped, especially as he has started walking a little again. On their side you have Hanley Ramirez existing as a good hitter completely in theory as his actual results trail well behind expectations. Hope that continues. Scintillating rookie Rafael Devers looks like he is over-performing significantly, but if he regressed to that expectation he will still be one of the more fierce bats in the league. Mitch Moreland falls into the Hanley camp with good expectations completely muffled by awful real results. Boston has plenty of weak spots in their lineup at the bottom of this list, but they will get decent enough hitter Dustin Pedroia back for this series.

The Rays will need a lot of things to go right if they want to sweep this two-gamer, but merely treading water with a split would certainly beat the third alternative. Boston is playing very well now even if their offense is crashing so Tampa Bay will need to treat this like the pseudo playoff game that it is.

Game 1

Game 2

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