Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox
When and Where: Sunday, June 9, Fenway Park, Boston, Mass., 1:05 p.m. EDT.
Coming off one of his worst starts of the year, reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell faces a stern challenge in bouncing back Sunday when the Tampa Bay Rays wrap up their four-game series with the Boston Red Sox.
Snell sneaking consistency, run support to end five-start winless run
It would be harsh to say Snell (3-5, 3.65 ERA) is enduring a Cy Young hangover, but at the same time, he has already matched his loss total for all of 2018 a month before the All-Star break.
The left-hander has been plagued by a lack of run support — the 3.41 runs per game the Rays have provided in his 12 starts ranked seventh-lowest in the majors entering play Saturday.
Rays' Blake Snell still working to find his Cy Young form. Last year, it showed up in June. https://t.co/YozPdSh1UB
— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) June 4, 2019
Tuesday night’s 9-6 loss at Detroit, though, was more on Snell as he was tagged for six runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings. He failed to work his way out of a disastrous fifth inning in which the Tigers plated five runs.
“[Blake] got his strikeouts, but I also think the Tigers’ hitters did a good job of spoiling pitches, got his pitch count up, laid off some pitches that we generally see a lot of clubs swing at,” Rays manager Kevin Cash told the team’s official website. “They made some adjustments, but obviously the big blow came from maybe one of the game’s best. But what they did to get to that situation and 90 pitches in 4 1/3 is just not ideal for any of our pitchers, especially not Blake.”
For those who believe the glass is half-full for Blake, it should be remembered he went 14-2 with a 1.47 ERA from June 1 on last season.
He also pitched well against the Red Sox last year, going 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts and holding that potent lineup to three runs and a .157 batting average over 25 innings while striking out 27.
Snell won his only start at Fenway in 2018, yielding two runs and five hits while fanning nine in 7 1-3 innings of a 4-3 victory. The southpaw is 4-3 with a 3.22 ERA in eight career starts versus Boston.
Rodriguez looking for third straight winning start
Eduardo Rodriguez (6-3, 4.88 ERA) is looking to win three straight starts for the first time this year and record a fifth win in his last six decisions for Boston.
— Meridiano (@MeridianoTV) June 6, 2019
The left-hander recorded back-to-back road victories ahead of this outing and limited Kansas City to a two-run homer and little else over 5 2-3 innings of Boston’s 8-3 win Tuesday night. When Rodriguez has been on over his last six starts, he has been superb — going 4-0 with a 1.46 ERA compared to 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in the other two.
“I felt good, I think the only pitch that wasn’t working well was my changeup, I wasn’t throwing it right where I wanted it, but the others were working good,” Rodriguez told the Boston Herald. “The only pitch I missed was the cutter to the one who hit the homer, I tried to go in on him and I just missed it over the plate and he made pretty good contact.”
Rodriguez did not get a decision at Tampa Bay on April 19 after yielding four runs and seven hits over 5 1-3 innings of Boston’s 6-4 victory. The Venezuelan has failed to beat the Rays in seven previous starts, going 0-2 with a 6.42 ERA.
The Rays are:
- 8-2 in Snell’s last 10 starts vs. AL East teams.
- 5-2 in their last seven during game 4 of a series.
- 11-4 in their last 15 games vs. left-handed starters.
The Red Sox are:
- 1-4 in their last five games vs. starters with a sub-1.15 WHIP.
- 4-10 in their last 14 games vs. above-.600 teams.
- 1-5 in their last six home games vs. the Rays.