Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay
When: 7:10 PM ET, Friday, April 19, 2019
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
TAMPA – The reigning World Series champion Boston Red Sox hope to begin recovering from their so-called championship hangover when they visit the major league-best Tampa Bay Rays tonight for the opener of their three-game series. The Red Sox have dropped their last three contests and 13 of 19 to open the season after coughing up a two-run lead in the seventh inning of a 5-3 loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday.
“We’ve got to go down there and win the series, that’s the most important thing. You win two out of three, or you sweep them and you move on,” Boston manager Alex Cora told MLB.com. “That’s the goal every series. We haven’t done it yet. It would be a good time to do it in (St. Petersburg, Fla.).” The Red Sox send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound for the series opener while the Rays counter with the hard-throwing Ryne Stanek, who will pitch an inning or two before being replaced – likely by Ryan Yarbrough.
Tampa Bay rallied from a three-run deficit to forge a tie on Thursday but could not complete a three-game sweep and suffered a 6-5 setback in 11 innings against Baltimore. Tommy Pham saw his franchise-record on-base streak end at 48 games on Wednesday but rebounded with four hits and a pair of RBIs in the loss for the Rays while Austin Meadows remained hot with two hits as he has gone 16-for-32 over his last eight contests.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), FS Sun (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Eduardo Rodriguez (1-2, 7.98 ERA) vs. Rays RH Ryne Stanek (0-0, 1.93)
Rodriguez is coming off his best performance in three starts this season, a victory over Baltimore last Friday in which he allowed two runs and three hits with eight strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old Venezuelan was pounded for 12 runs – 11 earned – and 16 hits over eight frames in his first two outings of 2019. Pham is 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI versus Rodriguez, who gave up three runs in 3 2/3 frames against Tampa Bay last season.
Stanek will open the game for the fifth time this season as he has been outstanding in the role, allowing two hits while registering 11 strikeouts in six innings. The 27-year-old Arkansas product, who also has permitted two runs and four hits in 3 1/3 frames as a reliever, fanned 53 batters over 40 innings while making 29 starts last year. Xander Bogaerts is 2-for-3 with a triple against Stanek, who was 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in four outings (one start) versus Boston in 2018.
1. Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia (knee) was placed on the 10-day injured list, but club officials announced it is not a serious injury.
2. Tampa Bay SS Willy Adames has gone 15-for-37 during his 10-game hitting streak after recording an infield single on Thursday.
3. Red Sox LF Andrew Benintendi (foot) is expected to return to the lineup Friday after missing three straight games.