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Boston Red Sox (71-54) at Tampa Bay Rays (52-72)
Wednesday, August 24 - 7:10 PM EST
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
The Boston Red Sox are surging at just the right time and have moved a season-high 17 games over .500 while remaining tied for first place in the American League East. The Red Sox will try to clinch a series win when they visit the Tampa Bay Rays for the third of a four-game series on Wednesday.
Boston has won 10 of its last 12 games and has seen a complete turnaround from a pitching staff that was the weak point of the team during the first four months of the season. Clay Buchholz, who was banished to the bullpen after struggling earlier in the year, turned in 6 1/3 solid innings in Tuesday’s 2-1 triumph, and the Red Sox are limiting opponents to an average of three runs in the last 12 contests. Tampa Bay put up 16 runs in taking back-to-back games from the Texas Rangers on Saturday and Sunday but has been limited to a total of three in the first two games against Boston. The Rays are back to 20 games under .500 and only have one series left this season against a team with a losing record.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (17-3, 3.22 ERA) vs. Rays RH Matt Andriese (6-5, 3.66)
Porcello is quietly joining the Cy Young Award conversation in the AL and has gone at least seven innings in each of his last five outings – all quality starts. The New Jersey native breezed past his former team on Friday by scattering two runs – one earned – and four hits over seven innings while striking out eight in Detroit. Porcello is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts against the Rays this season, including six innings of one-run ball at Tampa Bay on June 28.
Andriese failed to make it through six innings in any of his four starts since rejoining the rotation and suffered the loss in each of the last three. The California native, who turns 27 next week, surrendered a total of 14 runs and 21 hits – seven home runs – over 15 innings in those three losses. Andriese has been sharp against Boston in his young career, scattering four hits over 9 2/3 scoreless innings in three appearances – one start.
1. Red Sox DH David Ortiz has hit safely in 10 straight games.
2. Rays SS Tim Beckham (hamstring) left Tuesday’s game and is day-to-day.
3. Boston rookie LF Andrew Benintendi recorded multiple hits in eight of his first 20 games.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 5, Rays 2