MLB: Red Sox look to ride late-season momentum, host Rays
Looking to end the season on a high note, the Boston Red Sox will continue their final series of 2022 when they face the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.
Boston (76-84) was outscored 25-3 at Toronto over the weekend, but fought back from a three-run deficit in Monday’s 4-3 win over the Rays.
“We wanted to finish the season playing good baseball,” third baseman Rafael Devers told the New England Sports Network. “We don’t know what’s going to happen in the offseason, but we wanted to finish strong.”
Devers doubled as part of a 3-for-3 effort, scored once and drove in the decisive run, helping the Red Sox to just their fifth win in 17 games against the Rays (86-74) this season.
Boston has won four straight home games and sends Nathan Eovaldi (5-3, 4.05 ERA) to the mound for his second start since returning from the injured list (right shoulder inflammation).
Eovaldi allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and struck out three over 4 2/3 innings against Baltimore on Thursday.
“I feel like typically you can kind of feel if you’re going to be sore or not coming out of it, and I feel really good … building for this next start,” Eovaldi said. “I like the way I’m heading into the offseason and the way I’m finishing up.”
Eovaldi is a pending free agent, meaning Thursday could mark his final outing with Boston after parts of five seasons in the organization.
“It means a lot to me to be able to come out here and pitch in front of our fans and of course be able to put on the Red Sox uniform and go out there and compete,” Eovaldi said.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts is expected to return after missing Monday’s game due to a tight back.
First baseman Eric Hosmer (low back inflammation) has been activated after a 38-game absence.
The Rays will look to regain momentum before the postseason. They have lost three straight.
Wander Franco and Manuel Margot both homered on Monday.
Despite totaling just five hits, it was the Rays’ first multi-homer effort since Sept. 18.
“It’s good for Wander to get a hold of a ball, and certainly Manny,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “I felt like we had a little bit better at-bats (on Monday).”
Left-hander Jeffrey Springs (9-4, 2.45) gets the ball after tossing six shutout innings against Cleveland last week.
The Rays have won just one of their past seven series. Gearing up for the start of their first-round playoff series is now the focus.
“Once we realized we couldn’t get home field, the best thing we could do was make sure we are 100 percent going into the postseason,” Cash said. “We’re going to lean on these guys.”
Springs has a 4.80 ERA over four appearances (three starts) against the Red Sox this season.
He has pitched shutout ball in four of his last seven starts, though one was a three-inning stint against Boston last month.
“I felt like I was able to spread the ball around, change speeds and keep them off-balance,” Springs said after his last outing.
–Field Level Media