The Boston Red Sox had enough in the tank after their marathon win on Friday night to survive on Saturday, thanks to Mookie Betts. The Red Sox’s star will try to lead his team to a series sweep when they visit the Tampa Bay Rays in the finale of a three-game set on Sunday.
Boston needed 15 innings on Friday to secure a 13-6 win and only had enough energy to muster seven hits on Saturday, but Betts delivered a solo homer and an RBI single among those hits and the Red Sox scratched out a 3-1 win to stay three games ahead of the New York Yankees in the American League East. Betts recorded multiple hits in three of his last five games and owns three home runs in that span, pushing his season total to 22 blasts. The Rays are trying to play spoiler but are just 2-6 in their last eight games - all against Boston and New York. Tampa Bay will try to avoid a fourth consecutive setback when it sends Jake Odorizzi to the mound on Sunday opposite Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez.
TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Eduardo Rodriguez (5-5, 4.19 ERA) vs. Rays RH Jake Odorizzi (8-8, 4.52)
Rodriguez is coming off back-to-back strong starts and held the Oakland Athletics to one run on as many hits and four walks over six innings on Tuesday. The Venezuela native matched a season high with nine strikeouts against the A’s and notched 17 K’s in 12 innings over his last two outings. Rodriguez is seeing Tampa Bay for the first time this season and is just 0-1 with a 7.58 ERA in four career starts against the division rivals.
Odorizzi could not make it out of the fourth inning against the New York Yankees on Monday, when he was charged with five runs - one earned - on three hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings. The 27-year-old completed six innings in only two of his last eight outings. Odorizzi last saw Boston at home on Aug. 9 and suffered the loss while surrendering two runs - one earned - in four innings.
1. Red Sox DH Hanley Ramirez (shoulder) sat out the last three games and is day-to-day.
2. Tampa Bay RF Steven Souza Jr. is 1-for-31 with 17 strikeouts in his last nine games.
3. Boston C Christian Vazquez is 10-for-21 in his last six contests, raising his batting average to .301.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 5, Rays 3