Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
When: 6:10 PM ET, Saturday, April 20, 2019
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
TAMPA-ST. PETE – The Boston Red Sox were waiting for a power outburst from the reigning American League MVP and finally got one at just the right time. Mookie Betts will try to keep swinging a hot bat and lead the Red Sox to a series win when they visit the Tampa Bay Rays for the second of a three-game set this evening.
Betts went seven straight games without an extra-base hit and was 2-for-23 in that span before leading off the sixth inning with a double on Friday and clubbing a go-ahead solo blast in the eighth to lead Boston to a 6-4 victory, snapping a three-game slide. The Red Sox bullpen tuned in another solid performance with Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier combining for 3 2/3 scoreless innings, once again picking up the slack for a struggling rotation.
The Rays are enduring their first losing streak of the season, with Friday’s loss and Thursday’s 6-5 setback to Baltimore marking the team’s first set of back-to-back defeats this season. Tampa Bay will try to avoid its first three-game slide behind right-hander Charlie Morton while the Red Sox counter with righty Rick Porcello.
TV: 6:10 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), FS Sun (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (0-3, 11.12 ERA) vs. Rays RH Charlie Morton (2-0, 2.18)
Porcello issued five walks in four innings and was charged with three runs and six hits in a loss to Baltimore last Saturday, which lowered his ERA from 13.50 to 11.12. The former AL Cy Young Award winner is struggling with his command and issued a total of 12 walks to go with 22 hits in 11 1/3 innings over his first three outings. Porcello made five starts against Tampa Bay last season and went 2-2 with a 4.34 ERA, with both losses coming at Tropicana Field.
Morton is proving to be a solid addition to the Rays staff and surrendered two or fewer runs in each of his first four outings. The 35-year-old completed six innings in only one of those turns and was limited to 4 2/3 innings at Toronto on Sunday while allowing one run and four hits. Morton saw the Red Sox in the playoffs last season as a member of the Houston Astros and was knocked around for three runs on three hits and a pair of walks in 2 1/3 innings.
1. Red Sox INF Michael Chavis was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday and could make his major league debut this weekend.
2. Tampa Bay RF Avisail Garcia drove in five runs in the last four games.
3. Boston traded C Blake Swihart to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league OF Marcus Wilson.