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The Boston Red Sox's bullpen failed them over their last two games, something they didn't expect with the normally reliable arms of Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel at the ready.
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It might get more work if Joe Kelly can't grasp hold of his command issues.
Boston's offense also will have to be more successful against Drew Smyly, who takes the mound Tuesday night at Fenway Park looking to help the Tampa Bay Rays win a third straight game.
Red Sox relievers have a 4.12 ERA after allowing seven runs in 5 1-3 innings over back-to-back losses to Toronto. Boston (6-6) led 1-0 heading into the eighth Monday before Uehara walked two, hit a batter and was charged with four runs while getting just one out in a 4-3 defeat.
Kimbrel allowed a two-run single and walked in a run before getting the final two outs. He came on earlier than expected after Uehara, who blamed his struggles on the Patriots' Day game's early start, faltered.
The closer wasn't comfortable, either -- for a different reason.
"It's definitely not a situation I'm accustomed to," Kimbrel said. "I'm asked to come in and get two outs and leave it where it was. I was able to get the first (batter) to give us a chance. That really wasn't what we had written up."
The rest of the bullpen should be ready to go with Kelly (1-0, 10.13 ERA) taking the mound against the Rays (5-7). Kelly gave up seven runs in three innings before the Red Sox rallied to beat the Blue Jays on April 8, then allowed seven hits and walked five while throwing 116 pitches in five innings of Wednesday's 4-2 win over Baltimore.
"Obviously, it wasn't the best, but I went out there and battled and grinded," Kelly said.
Kelly hasn't been at his best against the Rays, either. The right-hander allowed five runs in five innings in each of his two starts against them last season and might have to limit the damage better when opposing Smyly (0-2, 4.61).
The left-hander went 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last four road starts of 2015, tossing 6 1-3 shutout innings to beat the Red Sox 6-2 on Sept. 23. He's 3-1 with a 1.77 ERA in six starts and two relief appearances against Boston and has a 2.45 ERA in three outings at Fenway.
"Really cool environment," Smyly said. "It's always exciting. An electric atmosphere."
Smyly is coming off a solid home start after allowing three runs and three hits in seven innings Wednesday against Baltimore. He struck out a career high-tying 11 - he also fanned that many Red Sox on Sept. 13 - but didn't get any run support in a 4-1 loss.
Smyly said he's looking forward to facing the retiring David Ortiz again if he's in the lineup. Ortiz, who is 5 for 11 with a homer and a double lifetime off Smyly, didn't start against left-hander J.A. Happ on Monday before striking out as a pinch hitter.
"He is one of the best hitters of all time," Smyly told MLB's official website. "It's been an honor to get to face him. It's always a very competitive at-bat, so it's pretty cool when I'm done to tell people that I got to face Papi."
Tampa took the final two of a three-game set from the Chicago White Sox after scoring once during a three-game skid. Brandon Guyer went 4 for 4 with an RBI in Sunday's 3-2 victory and Kevin Kiermaier snapped an 0-for-19 slump with a double.
Evan Longoria is just 4 for 20 over his last five, but he hit .410 with three homers and four doubles in 10 games at Fenway last year.