MLB

Rays-Red Sox Preview

The Tampa Bay Rays might have looked at a series against one of the AL's worst teams as a way to get their playoff drive on track.

The Rays instead are just hoping to avoid a three-game sweep Sunday to the Boston Red Sox, who just learned that a significant change to their organization is coming soon.

Tampa Bay has all but faded from the AL East race since holding a half-game lead June 27 but still remain in striking distance for a wild-card spot, albeit facing plenty of competition. The Rays (51-54) haven't helped their cause by losing eight of 12 overall and 13 of 16 on the road.

"You just keep moving forward and keep hacking away and keep making pitches," designated hitter John Jaso said. "You just have to be professional, brush it off and get your work in."

Tampa Bay let Pablo Sandoval's replacement, Travis Shaw, have a historic performance in an 11-7 defeat Sunday. Shaw became the first Red Sox player since at least 1914 with four hits, five runs and 11 total bases in one game.

He also drove in three runs on his first two major league home runs and finished a triple shy of the cycle in his 10th major league game.

"I'm just trying to make the most of my opportunities up here and trying to help the team any way that I can," Shaw said.

He was called up after Sandoval missed a second straight game because of a bruised left forearm, caused when he was hit by a pitch while striking out Thursday. The third baseman is considered day-to-day, but he might get a longer chance to heal after batting .176 in his 10 games before getting hurt.

He's been a disappointing acquisition for a Boston club which was expected to be a contender but has the AL's second-worst record, and the first of many expected changes came Saturday with the announcement that team president and CEO Larry Lucchino is stepping down at the end of the season. Lucchino, who hopes to stay with the team in some capacity, was a member of the ownership group that purchased the Red Sox in 2002 and the franchise won three World Series in his tenure.

Wade Miley (8-9, 4.65 ERA) is another offseason acquisition who has underperformed. His ERA is the highest of his five-year career after having one of his worst outings of the season Tuesday, giving up seven runs in 5 2-3 innings in a 9-4 defeat to the Chicago White Sox.

The left-hander allowed one run in 13 innings in his prior two starts but enters Sunday on a five-game winless streak.

Miley, though, has dominated the Rays, going 3-1 with a 1.07 ERA in four starts. He might still be undefeated against them if he had received any run support in a 4-1 loss June 27 when he yielded two runs in 6 1-3 innings.

Jake Odorizzi (6-6, 2.76) will try to keep the Red Sox at bay while building on a 10-2 win over Detroit on Tuesday. The right-hander yielded one run in six innings in his first victory in three starts and his longest since May 31.

Odorizzi was making his fourth start since a five-week stint on the disabled list for a strained left oblique. He went 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA in two starts against Boston (47-58) before that injury and gave up one run in seven innings in a 5-1 win at Fenway Park on May 4.

Xander Bogaerts is batting .396 with 18 RBIs in his last 25 games after going 4 for 5 and driving in three runs Saturday for Boston, which will seek a season-high tying fourth consecutive win.

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