Published May 03, 2016
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Rays make the final stop of their current road trip in Boston on Monday night, as they take on the Red Sox at Fenway Park in the opener of a three-game series.
Tampa Bay is just 2-4 on the trip after dropping back-to-back series to the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. This weekend's series was scheduled to be played in Baltimore, but it wound up getting shifted to St. Petersburg due to civil unrest in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray.
The Rays, who still served as the road team, came up short in Sunday's rubber match against the O's, 4-2. They led, 2-0, after five shutout innings from starter Nathan Karns. However, relievers Brandon Gomes, Steve Geltz and Kevin Jepsen combined to allow four runs on seven hits over the next couple of innings, and Tampa Bay was never able to recover.
"(Karns) threw the ball really well, gave us a chance to win the game," manager Kevin Cash said. "At that point, I felt that he'd given us exactly what we needed. If there was a chance I jumped the gun an inning early, that's on me."
Meanwhile, Boston is looking to get back on track after suffering a three-game sweep against the visiting New York Yankees at Fenway Park this weekend. The Red Sox were out-hit by a 14-7 margin in Sunday's finale, which they lost, 8-5.
Starter Joe Kelly was tagged for five runs on nine hits as he lasted only 4 2/3 innings. The Red Sox did make things interesting following a five-run sixth inning, but they were held off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
"It's been a month and we're one game under .500, but there's nobody giving up in this clubhouse," Kelly said. "We're all looking forward to coming here (Monday) and playing a big series against the Rays."
Monday's pitching duel is a rematch of the April 23 matchup between Tampa Bay's Jake Odorizzi and Boston's Clay Buchholz, which the Rays won 2-1 in walkoff fashion to clinch the series.
Buchholz has seen his ERA climb to 5.76 on the season since pitching seven shutout innings against the Philadelphia Phillies in his 2015 debut. Most recently, the right-hander lasted just 2 2/3 innings at home against Toronto on Tuesday, as he allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits. It marked his shortest outing in more than a calendar year.
However, Buchholz did have some success in Tampa on April 23, when he struck out 10 batters over six innings and allowed only one earned run on two hits.
Odorizzi also pitched well in that April 23 matchup, as he yielded only one earned run on three hits across 6 2/3 frames. The right-hander has four quality starts in five turns through the rotation, having fanned 26 batters while walking only eight. He has a solid 0.86 WHIP on the season but is 0-2 with an 8.25 ERA in three career starts at Fenway.
Odorizzi is looking to rebound from a loss against the Yankees on Tuesday, when he gave up four earned runs on nine hits over 6 1/3 innings.
The Red Sox lineup was held to a collective .192 average (19-for-99) during the first series against the Rays.