Two talented starting pitchers look to bounce back from consecutive losses when the Boston Red Sox host the Tampa Bay Rays in Wednesday night’s finale of a brief two-game series.
While Boston (76-81) fell four games deep into the American League East cellar following the series-opening, 9-7 loss, Tampa Bay (96-62) is still in the running at 2 1/2 games behind division-leading Baltimore.
Brayan Bello (12-10, 4.11 ERA) will start Boston’s home finale. He allowed a career-high eight earned runs in three innings last Wednesday at Texas. He is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in four career starts against Tampa Bay.
“He’s a good pitcher,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “He’s a part of the future and he’s a part of our present. He just had a bad one (in Texas).”
Prior to last week, the 24-year-old had given up no more than three runs in any of his six outings. That run included a Sept. 4 win over the Rays, back-to-back starts against Houston and starts vs. the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays.
“I’ve pitched against good teams in the past and have been able to learn a lot from those starts — even (last week),” Bello said. “So I’m just going to learn from what happened and execute next time.”
While set to go against Tyler Glasnow (9-7, 3.68), Bello will look to shut down a Rays team that has won 13 of its last 20 games and has a 10-2 record against Boston this season. They jumped out to a 7-0 lead en route to a 13-hit Tuesday night.
With the postseason on the horizon, the Tampa offense has heated up to the tune of three straight games with at least 12 hits.
On Tuesday, Manuel Margot was 4-for-4, Jonathan Aranda registered his first career three-hit game and Rene Pinto homered.
“They did a good job of producing with guys like Yandy (Diaz) and Randy (Arozarena) not in there,” Margot said via a translator. “They did a good job of competing and connecting on some good hits.”
With injuries piling up, the likes of Isaac Paredes, Aranda, Junior Caminero and Curtis Mead could all see October time.
Giving them opportunities to contribute now is important to Rays manager Kevin Cash.
“These guys, they’re getting opportunities right now, and you’ve got to learn quick on the fly,” Cash said. “I think our best thing we can do is get them as comfortable as possible and let them embrace the moment.”
The young lineup came through in key situations in the series opener, scoring eighth-inning insurance runs after Boston made a comeback to within 7-6.
“There’s a lot to be excited about with this club that we’ve done just a tremendous job of being resilient,” Cash said. “We’ll be as tested as ever now with some of the guys that we’re losing.”
Meanwhile, Enmanuel Valdez was a bright spot for the Red Sox, going 3-for-4 with a three-run homer and four RBIs. Wilyer Abreu also had multiple hits.
Glasnow is coming off back-to-back losses for the first time since July and has an 8.22 ERA over his last three starts after a 2.30 mark in the previous 12.
Glasnow was charged with four runs — all in the sixth inning — and tied a season high with four walks despite striking out seven last Friday against Toronto.
The righty has enjoyed career success against Boston, with a 3-1 record and 3.35 ERA across 10 starts. He struck out a career-high-tying 14 Red Sox across six innings of one-run ball on Sept. 6 and has allowed just one run in each of his head-to-head outings this season.
–Field Level Media
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