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Boston Red Sox (71-55) at Tampa Bay Rays (53-72)
Thursday, August 25 - 1:10 PM EST
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
The Boston Red Sox are hoping to end their road trip on a high note when they endure a quick turnaround with a day game in Thursday’s series finale against the host Tampa Bay Rays. The Red Sox fell to 7-3 on the trip with a loss in 11 innings on Wednesday night and are tied for first place in the American League East with the Toronto Blue Jays, one game clear of the Baltimore Orioles.
The bright spot in Wednesday’s 4-3 loss came from slugger David Ortiz, who became the oldest person to reach 30 home runs and the oldest to reach 100 RBIs when he sent a two-run blast into the seats in right. The 40-year-old designated hitter also passed Hall of Famer Ted Williams by recording his 10th 100-RBI season with the franchise and is showing no signs of slowing down with hits in 11 consecutive games. The Rays minted their own 30-homer slugger in the eighth inning on Wednesday when Evan Longoria’s solo blast tied the game and gave him four seasons with at least 30 home runs. Longoria has been on a home run binge with seven in the last 17 games and owns 20 RBIs in that span.
TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, NESN (Boston), FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Drew Pomeranz (10-9, 2.95 ERA) vs. Rays RH Jake Odorizzi (8-5, 3.63)
Pomeranz should be extra fresh after a rain delay in Detroit on Saturday limited him to 51 pitches – 39 strikes – over five innings. The former San Diego Padre struggled in his first three starts after returning to the AL but has been sharp over the last four, going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA. Pomeranz still has some trouble keeping the ball in the yard and surrendered at least one home run in each of his seven starts with Boston.
Odorizzi is 5-0 in seven starts since the All-Star break with a 1.64 ERA and six quality starts. The 26-year-old breezed past the Texas Rangers in a win on Saturday, yielding one run and six hits in six innings while striking out four. Odorizzi’s last loss came at Boston on July 10, when he was reached for four runs in five innings and fell to 2-3 with a 4.36 ERA in 10 career starts against the Red Sox.
1. Rays RHP Alex Cobb (elbow surgery) will throw a bullpen session prior to Thursday’s contest and could return after a final rehab start on Saturday.
2. Tampa Bay INF Tim Beckham (hamstring) sat out Wednesday and is day-to-day.
3. Boston rookie LF Andrew Benintendi (left knee sprain) left Wednesday’s contest in the seventh inning and is day-to-day.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 6, Rays 4