The Red Sox will look to solidify their first series sweep since July 8 when they send Wade Miley to the bump Sunday to face Jake Odorizzi and the plummeting Rays.
Miley had been one of the Red Sox‘ most consistent starters before his most recent outing against the White Sox last Tuesday. In the 9-4 loss, he gave up seven runs, including five in the first inning, on 10 hits and three walks. Miley did not have the command he’d had in starts previous as White Sox hitters squared him up for a season-high eight line drives. After the game, Miley cited control as the underlying issue behind his worst start since June 11.
“Not a lot of command in the first inning,” Miley said. “A lot of fastballs in the middle of the plate and not a good effort me making adjustments in that first inning. I probably had a couple opportunities to minimize the damage and didn’t do a very good job of it.”
Though his latest start is a huge red flag, Miley’s previous eight outings were quite encouraging. The southpaw hurled 48 2/3 innings, posting a 3.33 ERA and a more than manageable .228/.319/.356 opponents’ slash line. He still had his usual troubles with commanding the strike zone, tossing just 58 percent of his pitches for strikes, however he got hitters to bite on stuff outside the zone more often, generating a 1.09 ground ball rate.
For the season, Miley owns an 8-9 record and a 4.65 ERA as part of the AL’s worst starting rotation. In his fourth career outing against the Rays on June 27, Miley had one of the best games of his season, throwing 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball while striking out eight in a losing effort. During his career, Miley has logged stellar numbers against Tampa Bay, going 3-1 with a 1.07 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.
Miley’s counterpart on Sunday will Odorizzi. A former first-round pick and pivotal prospect dealt in the Wil Myers trade of 2012, Odorizzi is starting to fulfill his projections as a 25-year-old. On the campaign, he sports a 6-6 record and an impressive 2.76 ERA.
Since he missed approximately four starts in June due to an oblique strain, Odorizzi has leveled out in July, posting a 3.86 ERA and giving up three home runs in 21 innings pitched. However, if one removes his 4 1/3-inning, six-run debacle vs. the Blue Jays on July 17, he has been just as dominant as he was before the aggravating his oblique, boasting a 1.62 ERA with 18 punchouts in 16 2/3 innings.
“What he provides every fifth day, the length and the opportunity for us to go out and win the game, is going to be nice to have back,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said following the pitcher’s return to the rotation on July 11.
During his latest start against the Tigers last Tuesday, Odorizzi was nothing short of dominant, going six strong innings in which he allowed six hits and one run while whiffing eight batters. In the wake of a disagreement between he and Cash regarding his limited pitch count following his DL stint, Odorizzi threw 101 pitches against the Tigers, displaying the workhorse mentality he had before the injury.
Over the course of his brief MLB career, Odorizzi has made seven starts against the Red Sox. He has logged a 2-2 record and a 3.26 ERA along with a 1.14 WHIP in these outings.
Losers of 16 games in July, the Rays need Odorizzi to help jump-start them in August as they have quickly faded from a playoff-capable squad to an AL East afterthought in a matter of weeks.
Rays vs. Miley (LHP)
Logan Forsythe (15 plate appearances): .333 AVG/.400 OBP/.667 SLG, 1 double, 1 HR, 3 RBIs
Evan Longoria (12): .200/.333/.600, 1 double, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Rene Rivera (10): .400/.400/.500, 1 double, 2 RBIs
Asdrubal Cabrera (9): .222/.222/.444, 1 triple
Brandon Guyer (6): .250/.500/.250
Steven Souza (6): .000/.167/.000
James Loney (5): .200/.200/.200
Joey Butler (3): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts
Tim Beckham is 0-for-1 against Miley with a walk.
No other Rays have faced Miley.
Red Sox vs. Odorizzi (RHP)
Xander Bogaerts (16): .333/.438/.583, 1 double, 1 triple, 2 RBIs
David Ortiz (16): .125/.125/.125
Brock Holt (11): .300/.273/.900, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 HR, 3 RBIs
Mike Napoli (6): .000/.000/.000
Pablo Sandoval (6): .167/.167/.333
Alejandro De Aza (5): .400/.400/1.000, 1 HR, 2 RBIs
Jackie Bradley Jr. (4): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts
Rusney Castillo is 0-for-2 against Odorizzi.
No other Red Sox have faced Odorizzi.