Series Preview: 4/27-4/29 vs. TB

Records Entering Series: TB (10-13, 4th in AL East), BOS (19-5, 1st in AL East)

The Rays have been somewhat surprising so far, currently sitting at 10-13 and riding a 6-game win streak into Boston.

The Red Sox have been arguably the best team in the MLB, but they’ve slowed down a bit of late, losing 3 of their last 6. They finished their 9-game road trip at a very respectable 6-3, and now find themselves back at Fenway playing a team they’ve beaten in 6 out of 7 meetings this year. They’ll look to take at least 2 of 3 here, but will ultimately be pushing for a sweep.

Drew Pomeranz, David Price and Rick Porcello will take the mound for Boston.

Hitters to Watch

TB: Mallex Smith – Smith is one of the big surprises at the plate in the MLB this year. He’s hitting .363/.421/.877 in 68 AB, with 4 RBI, 9 runs and 5 steals.

BOS: Xander Bogaerts – Bogaerts was the hottest hitter not just for the Red Sox, but in all of the MLB when he went down with an ankle injury. He returns Friday night for the first time in about 2 weeks, and will look to continue his hot start that saw him hitting .368 with 9 RBI and a monstrous 1.111 OPS.

Pitchers to Watch

TB: Blake Snell – Snell has been one of the bright spots on a Rays rotation that has struggled at times. He’ll take the hill in game 1 vs. Drew Pomeranz, sporting a 3-1 record with a 2.54 ERA, .99 WHIP and 32 K’s in 28.1 IP.

BOS: Rick Porcello – On a staff with the likes of Chris Sale and David Price, Rick Porcello has been Boston’s best starter. His 1.93 ERA, .83 WHIP and .189 OBA are tops among Red Sox starters. He’s had his full arsenal working for him in his 5 starts so far, and will look to improve upon that solid foundation in Game 3.

Matchup to Watch: Brad Miller vs. Drew Pomeranz

Miller is batting .526 with a home run and 6 RBI in 19 AB’s vs. Pomeranz. He’s had a tough go so far, only batting .213 in 14 games this year, but if he gets the start in game 1, his matchup vs. Pomeranz could be just what he needs to jump start his season.

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