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Game 89: Red Sox at Rays

The band is, mostly, back together

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and J.D. Martinez are all back in the lineup at their typical positions. Trevor Story is out but the x-rays on his ailing hand were positive so hopefully that’s a short-term loss. What it does do, for now, is open a spot for Jeter Downs to make or break his place on the Red Sox. A good audition could make Down available in a few weeks as a trade candidate, as insurance should Xander Bogaerts depart via free agency and Story shift to shortstop in 2023, or let him try to turn into a Chris Taylor/Ben Zobrist/ Kiké Hernández type super-utility player.

The Red Sox find themselves in a similar place as they were in against the Yankees: one close loss and one blowout. They were able to turn things around and capture the split against New York, can they do it against Tampa?

Boston will send Josh Winckowski out for his seventh major league start looking to improve on a 4.35 ERA/4.17 FIP and a strikeout to walk rate of just 1.75. To his credit, the rookie has tossed at least five inning the last five times taking the ball. And his ERA is mostly from the first start (3 innings, 4ER) and last start (5 innings, 6ER),

On the flip side, the Sox have to face Shane McClanahan who is much better on the mound than the actress on Golden Girls. In just 104.1 innings he already has 141 strikeouts and his ERA sits under 2. Although that 2.48 FIP is a slight hope for some regression (kidding).

This is essentially as tough as game as they come. In his first start against the Sox this year the lefty tossed 7 innings of two-run ball while striking out 7 and walking nobody. The Sox lost that contest 5-2. However, that was in April. When the team wasn’t hitting at all. So maybe, just maybe, they can must enough offense to stay competitive. On that note, McClanahan hasn’t allowed more than 2 earned runs since April 30. The Tampa Bay Rays are down Wander Franco, which is nice, but it’s going to be a hard fight tonight and the Sox have to keep runs off the board for there to be a chance at a W.

Game 89: Red Sox at Rays

Lineup spot Rays Red Sox
Lineup spot Rays Red Sox
1 Yandy Díaz, 3B Rob Refsnyder, RF
2 Ji-Man Choi, 1B Rafael Devers, 3B
3 Harold Ramirez, RF J.D. Martinez, DH
4 Isaac Paredes, 2B Xander Bogaerts, SS
5 Jonathan Aranda, DH Alex Verdugo, LF
6 Randy Arozarena, LF Christian Vazquez, C
7 Taylor Walls, SS Bobby Dalbec, 1B
8 Josh Lowe, CF Jetern Downs, 2B
9 Francisco Mejía,C Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
SP Shane McClanahan, LHP Josh Winckowski, RHP