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Tampa Bay Rays (55-74) at Boston Red Sox (72-58)
Monday, August 29 - 7:10 PM EST
Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
Rick Porcello attempts to record his major league-leading 18th victory when the Boston Red Sox host the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday in the opener of a three-game series between the division rivals. Porcello, who is tied with Toronto's J.A. Happ for the most wins in the league, was thwarted in his attempt for No. 18 at Tampa Bay on Wednesday, settling for a no-decision after allowing three runs in 7 2/3 innings.
Boston, which is atop the American League wild-card standings, could use another strong effort from the right-hander as it dropped a 10-4 decision to Kansas City on Sunday for its fourth loss in five contests and fell two games behind first-place Toronto in the AL East. The setback was not without an impressive moment for the Red Sox as David Ortiz belted his 534th career home run to tie Jimmie Foxx for 18th place on the all-time list and pull within two of matching Mickey Mantle for 17th. The Red Sox could be without Dustin Pedroia for the opener against Tampa Bay as the second baseman left the team Sunday to attend the funeral of a family member and may not be back in time for the contest. The Rays, who are buried in last place in the AL East, salvaged the finale of their three-game set at Houston on Sunday as a 15-hit attack helped support a 10-strikeout performance by Chris Archer in a 10-4 victory.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Matt Andriese (6-5, 3.71 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (17-3, 3.23)
Andriese squared off against Porcello on Wednesday and also walked away without a decision after allowing three runs and seven hits in six innings. The 27-year-old Californian won his first five decisions as a starter but has lost his last four and has served up eight home runs over 21 frames in his last four turns. Andriese has fared well against Boston in his career, going 1-0 with a 1.72 ERA and 0.83 WHIP in four games (two starts) while limiting the Red Sox to a .193 average.
Tampa Bay is looking to become the first team to defeat Porcello at home this season, as the 27-year-old is 12-0 with a 2.96 ERA in 13 starts at Fenway Park. The native of New Jersey has won 11 of his last 12 overall decisions and has allowed a total of four earned runs over 22 innings in his last three victories. Porcello is 8-4 lifetime against the Rays and 3-0 in four outings this year, including a triumph at home July 9 in which he gave up one runs and six hits over seven frames.
1. The Rays optioned RHP Steve Geltz, who was recalled earlier in the day and allowed one run and three hits in one inning against Houston, back to Triple-A Durham after Sunday's game.
2. Porcello has struggled against Rays INF Brad Miller, who has taken him deep three times in 15 career at-bats.
3. Tampa Bay is expected to activate RHP Alex Cobb, who has not pitched in the majors since 2014 due to Tommy John surgery but likely will start against Toronto next weekend.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 9, Rays 3