Red Sox-Rays preview
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Boston Red Sox lost in 11 innings on Wednesday night to the Tampa Bay Rays, but as they wrap up a four-game series Thursday afternoon, the bigger loss could be rookie outfielder Andrew Benintendi.
Benintendi sprained his left knee while running the bases in the seventh inning. He was between second and third when a ground ball was hit to Red Sox shortstop Matt Duffy, who turned and tagged Benintendi. He took one step and landed awkwardly on his leg. He will undergo an MRI on Thursday to determine the severity of the injury.
“You never like to see a player come off, but he certainly has grabbed the attention of the sport. He's been embraced by the rest of this club,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “We're just going to make sure we get all the appropriate information on any further injury or the extent of it tomorrow morning.”
Benintendi, 22, has made a splash in his first month in the majors since being recalled Aug. 2, only 14 months after he was drafted. He is hitting .324 with 10 RBIs in 68 at-bats, providing production from the No. 9 slot in the batting order.
The injury puts a damper on what had been a strong run for Boston, winning 10 of 12 games before Wednesday's loss to move into a tie for first in the American League East with Toronto.
Tampa Bay starter, RHP Jake Odorizzi, has the best ERA in the American League since the All-Star break, going 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA. After getting just three wins in his first 19 starts of the season and leading the majors in no-decisions, he now has five wins in his last seven starts.
Odorizzi has pitched well against Boston at Tropicana Field, with a 0.92 career ERA there in 19 2/3 innings. This year, he has faced the Red Sox twice and has a 9.00 ERA. For his career, he's 2-3 with a 4.36 ERA in 10 starts against Boston.
It's a quick turnaround for the Rays, who used five relievers in Wednesday's 11-inning win, but they have the momentum of an unlikely walk-off win on a fielding error.
“Our bullpen was outstanding — that's two nights in a row where our bullpen's done a really nice job coming in and keeping it right there, giving us every opportunity to win a ballgame,” said manager Kevin Cash, who recalled RHP Tyler Sturdevant from Triple-A Durham to help the bullpen after the game.
Thursday's Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz has won his last two starts but is just 2-2 with a 4.23 ERA in seven starts since being acquired from the San Diego Padres last month.
Pomeranz has gotten into a groove of late — in his last four starts, he has allowed a total of six runs for a 2.25 ERA. His biggest problem since joining the Red Sox has been home runs — he has given up eight in his seven starts, at least one in each outing, after allowing eight total in 17 starts with the Padres.