Series Preview - Red Sox @ Rays
Updated: Apr 22, 2022
This weekend we have an ALDS rematch against the Tampa Bay Rays, a series in which I didn't think we had a chance in hell of winning, but did thanks to Enrique Hernandez and Fenway's weird walls. The big question heading into this one is when will the Red Sox bats come alive? Everything else is in place, so when we can finally put up some runs for our pitching, we can beat any team in Major League Baseball. Let's look at the matchups:
Friday, April 22nd 7:10 PM – Michael Wacha (0-0 0.96 ERA) vs Corey Kluber (0-0 1.86 ERA)
Saturday, April 23rd 6:10 PM – TBD vs TBD
Sunday, April 24th 1:10 PM – Rich Hill (0-1 7.00 ERA) vs Shane McClanahan (0-1 2.40 ERA)
This is going to be a very real test for Michael Wacha. He absolutely dominated the Tigers and Twins lineups, and while a .96 ERA against those two teams is impressive, they are no Tampa Bay. He has 31 Plate Appearances against this Rays lineup. He has an unimpressive .290 batting average against them, but only has allowed 2 doubles and a home run, the rest are singles. Arozarena has the lone home run, and has a massive 100.3 average Exit Velo off of Wacha. The rest of the lineup is low 70s to low 90s, so I would not expect a lot of hard hit balls. I think Wacha gives us around 5 innings of 1-run ball before a quick hook to the bullpen for the rest of the game.
The struggling Red Sox lineup will face Corey Kluber, one of those guys that was signed before the lockout and I think to myself "How the fuck did they get him?" JD and Xander have seen him plenty, with JD liking him more, collecting 9 singles, 2 doubles and 2 Yabos. Xander, however, only has 4 hits and has offset those with 4 strikeouts in 20 PAs. Aside from those 2, JBJ has enjoyed some success, going 5 for 18. Also Travis Shaw has 2 yacks against him so look out for him to maybe do well (even though he's fucking 0-9 with 4 Ks on the year). I like a low scoring game here with yet another solid start from Wacha.
Up next is TBD vs TBD. The Rays haven't seen TBD, as this is his first start for the Sox, but I think they struggle against him. He has a good 4 pitch mix that is pretty top heavy, relying on his slider/2-seam combo to put guys out on soft contact. I have been waiting to see TBD since he got drafted, so I am fucking amped to see him take the bump. Meanwhile our lineup has mashed against TBD. I'd really keep an eye out for Cash Considerations and A Player to Be Named Later to put up some huge numbers in this game. I like TBD over TBD in a blowout.
In the finale, we will see the Rays' opening day starter Shane McClanahan. He's had a really solid start to his second big league season, allowing only 15 hits in 10 innings of work. To be fair, since I did the same thing with Wacha, it has been against three Triple-A teams in the Cubs, Orioles, and A's, but his numbers are nevertheless impressive. In the ALDS last year, he picked up the Rays' sole win of the series, going 5 innings and allowing 5 hits with no runs. He also came in relief later in the series and pooped his pants, only managing to get 2 outs and allowing 5 runs. Look for Devers, JD, and Verdugo to pick up the offense in this one, as they are a combined 10 of 23 against McClanahan, with Raffy having the only HR of the group.
Facing McClanahan, Rich Hill will be going for the Sox. He has been abysmal this year, yet to make it to the 5th inning and allowing 7 ERs over 2 starts. He spent much of last year with the Rays, before being traded to the Mets, and was actually pretty solid with the squad once he settled in. Because he has played with these guys, I actually think Hill puts up a good outing in his return from Bereavement Leave, and gives us a chance to win this one.
Because there are so many unknowns this weekend, I am only going to pick the Sox to win the series, and it will count for double in my record.