Just who are the Red Sox? Are they as bad as the team that opened the season with three straight home losses to the Orioles, or as good as the one that battered the Rays, 11-2 on Monday, and followed that up with a come-from-behind, 6-5, extra inning victory against Tampa Bay on Tuesday?
I'd classify the Red Sox as much more like the ones swept by Baltimore. Boston's ownership now seems more committed to profitability rather than investment, a shift in how it used to be. The starting pitching staff is down its two best pitchers with Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez both injured and the bullpen is extremely weak.
Tampa Bay is several rungs above Boston. I don't see the Rays getting swept here. Circumstances are in the Rays' favor, too, with this being an early start time. It only will have been around 12 hours since the teams last were on the field with Tuesday night's game lasting 12 innings. The Rays are the deeper team with a far superior relief pitching group.
Southpaw Ryan Yarbrough goes for the Rays. He held the Marlins to four hits in 5 2/3 scoreless innings this past Friday during his first start of the season. Boston went 7-17 versus lefty starters last year. The Red Sox are 0-2 this season against lefties losing 3-0 to the Orioles' John Means and 11-3 to the Orioles' Bruce Zimmerman. Those two lefties held the Red Sox to a combined three runs in 13 innings on five hits with 10 strikeouts and one walk.
Nathan Eovaldi is slated to start for Boston. He pitched well in the loss against Means allowing one run on four hits in 5 1/3 innings. Eovaldi rarely is consistent, though. He also is 2-5 lifetime against the Rays with a 5.48 ERA in 10 appearances, including eight starts.
Prior to this series, the Rays had won eight in a row at Fenway Park.
(Editor's note: Stephen Nover is unbeaten this baseball season on his Triple Star plays. Stephen has a Triple Star MLB play today in addition to this free selection. All of Stephen's plays come with his top-notch, unique analysis and perspective.)