|3:10 PM PT4:10 PM MT5:10 PM CT6:10 PM ET18:10 ET22:10 GMT6:10 3:10 PM MST5:10 PM EST5:40 PM VEN2:10 UAE (+1)5:10 PM CT, April 20, 2019
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida Attendance: 22,940
Red Sox expect more hits from Betts vs. Rays
Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
- The Red Sox and Rays will meet for the first time in 2019 -- in 2018, the Red Sox -8 run differential against the Rays was their worst mark against any opponent.
- Boston has lost three straight, its third losing streak of at least three games this season. In 2018, the team had four losing streaks of at least three games, and only one such streak prior to the All-Star break.
- Despite losing to the Orioles yesterday, the Rays have won seven consecutive series dating back to last September. Only twice in franchise history have the Rays won more -- 10 consecutive series wins, in 2008 and 2013.
- Tommy Pham may have had his 48-game on-base streak snapped on Wednesday, but he responded on Thursday with his first four-hit game since last April. He's only had three career four-hit games, one in each of the last three seasons.
- J.D. Martinez homered against the Yankees on Wednesday, snapping a 10-game homerless streak. That 10-game streak was his longest streak of games without a home run since September 2016.
- Austin Meadows leads the Rays in hits (24), home runs (six) and RBI (17) this season. He is one of four MLB players leading his team outright in all three categories, along with Cody Bellinger, Anthony Rendon and Christian Yelich.
- Astros edge Red Sox but Springer injured
- Twins hit 3 more HRs for 9th win in 10
- A's put Davis on IL, win 7th straight
- Phils overcome Yelich's MLB-best 20th HR
- Yankees' Paxton still nursing sore knee
When the chance came for Mookie Betts to put his struggles behind him Friday, he didn't miss.
Now his team, the Boston Red Sox, must follow suit.
Fresh off a rare series-opening victory, the Red Sox will look to make it two straight against the first-place Tampa Bay Rays in the second contest of their three-game set Saturday at St. Petersburg, Fla.
Right-hander Rick Porcello (0-3, 11.12 ERA) takes the mound for Boston opposite Rays righty Charlie Morton (2-0, 2.18).
Powered by back-to-back, eighth-inning home runs by Betts and Mitch Moreland to pull away from a 4-4 tie Friday, Boston won 6-4, its second triumph in a series opener in seven tries this season. Saturday represents a chance for the Red Sox to pick up their first series win of the season.
"We know where we are in the standings," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "But it's more about that we have two shots to win the series. Step by step. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. But we have a chance to win the series. That feels good."
For Boston, the key is Betts, the reigning American League MVP. After calling his play "unacceptable" earlier this week as he hovered around the Mendoza Line, Betts broke out of a seven-game stretch without an extra-base hit by doubling in addition to his homer Friday.
"I think everybody in here, except for maybe him, knows it's coming," Moreland said of a Betts hot streak. "Nobody in here is as worried about him as he is. He's the best player in the game in our eyes. It's only a matter of time before he gets it rolling."
Though it seemed as if the weight of the world were on Betts, he wasn't alone in burying Boston in the cellar of the American League East. Porcello has also been a source of disappointment, giving up 19 runs (14 earned) on 22 hits and 12 walks in 11 1/3 innings across his first three starts this season.
Saturday, however, could be a turning point for Porcello, who has more career wins (14) against the Rays than against any other major league team. He is 14-10 with a 3.42 ERA in 28 starts vs. Tampa Bay.
Porcello has pitched even better at Tropicana Field, where he is 8-5 with a 2.86 ERA in 15 starts.
Morton, meanwhile, will look to continue his strong start to the season for his new team. In four starts with Tampa Bay, he has allowed no more than two runs, though walks (10 in 20 2/3 innings) have been a problem.
Last time out, Morton gave up one run on four hits and three walks against the Toronto Blue Jays. His control issues cost him a win as he was pulled after throwing only 53 of his 92 pitches for strikes in 4 2/3 innings during a game the Rays won 8-4.
Though the Friday loss was just the Rays' third in their past 11 games, they know opening the door for the Red Sox in the division is a bad idea.
"We've done a good job finding ways to win series," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We still want to put ourselves in position, and the only way we can do that is come out and play good and win (Saturday)."
--Field Level Media
Updated April 20, 2019