Where: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington
SEATTLE – The Boston Red Sox have received minimal offensive production from the assortment of players they have tried at third base this season, so they decided it was time to see if they could find a sparkplug on the farm. The Red Sox likely will start 20-year-old Rafael Devers on Monday, when the team’s top prospect is expected to make his major-league debut on the road in the opener of a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners.
Boston, which holds a three-game lead in the American League East despite losing three of four, has watched its third basemen – led by the likes of Deven Marrero, Josh Rutledge and the recently released Pablo Sandoval – post a combined .228 batting average this season. Devers, who arrived at the Red Sox’s Triple-A affiliate less than two weeks ago from Double-A Portland, went 14-for-35 with two homers at Pawtucket to prove to the parent club it didn’t need to look for help outside the organization. “Our people said, ‘Well, why would you try that (trade)? Why don’t you try (Devers)?’ … He’s in a position, we think he can do it,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters. The Mariners, who have dropped four of six since beginning the second half with four straight wins, find themselves 2 1/2 games behind Kansas City for the AL’s second wild-card spot after losing three of four to the New York Yankees over the weekend.
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), ROOT Northwest (Seattle)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 3.66 ERA) vs. Mariners LH James Paxton (9-3, 3.05)
Rodriguez struggled early before settling into his first start since June 1, permitting three runs on six hits and four walks while striking out eight in 5 1/3 frames of a no decision last Monday against Toronto. The 24-year-old Venezuelan did not fare well in his three rehab outings with Pawtucket, going 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA. Rodriguez was masterful in throwing six scoreless innings versus the Mariners on May 26, however, to improve to 1-0 with a 0.73 ERA in two starts against them.
Paxton won his fourth straight start Wednesday at Houston, yielding one run and six hits while fanning seven over as many innings. The 28-year-old Kentucky product has rebounded nicely from a rough five-outing stretch during which he went 1-3 with a 7.20 ERA, posting a 2.05 mark and 28 strikeouts during his winning streak. Paxton has given up one run on nine hits and two walks over a pair of eight-inning outings against the Red Sox, including a no-decision at home on Aug. 1.
1. The Red Sox, who rank third in the AL with 60 stolen bases, are 16-0 when they swipe multiple bags in a game.
2. The Mariners signed 2B Danny Espinosa on Sunday – three days after he was released by the Los Angeles Angels. The 30-year-old is batting .162 in 72 contests this season.
3. Boston took two of three from Seattle at home in late May, with each team winning via shutout.