In the Sox’s four game winning streak, the offense was rolling, scoring 31 runs. The fewest runs they had was on Thursday, scoring seven runs in a close affair. Last night, their struggles against contending teams came back in full focus. The offense went 15 up & 15 down in the first five innings. Then suddenly in the sixth inning they had bases loaded one out… they would strand their lone opportunity in the game. Rays starter Yonny Chirinos came out of nowhere to shut them out for eight innings.

In the last ten games against the Astros, Yankees and Rays — 31 Runs scored. Granted the best teams have some of the top staffs in baseball. But still, the Sox have one of the best lineups in baseball to match up with these pitchers. The Sox bats are pressing when it comes to these games. Hitting coach Tim Hyers said as much after last night’s sleepy 5-1 loss.

“It’s more of those guys trying to do more. Effort level is up and trying to do more instead of just relaxing. Allow for the game plan. Allow yourself to just relax in those situations and come through. When you’re trying to get a couple of guys on, trying to hit that three-run jack, you spin off some balls maybe that you could square up if you were just trying to stay within yourself.”

Josh Smith, called up as the 26th man today, takes the mound for the Sox. Last night Mike Shawaryn made his major league debut, pitching two innings. While he gave up a solo HR, he still looked good and struck out four batters. But alas, him pitching last night made it certain that Josh Smith would be starting today. Smith has had experience in majors since 2015. He is what he is, a career journeyman. In 71 games (10 starts), he holds a career ERA of 5.28 and 1.53 WHIP.

Smith has made one start this season. On May 6th, he took the loss against the Orioles as he gave up 4 ER in 3.1 innings. Aside from that start, he has thrown four scoreless innings in relief.

Ryan Yarbrough takes the ball for the Rays. Yarbrough debuted last year and delivered a 16-6 record to go with a 3.91 ERA. The 2019 season hasn’t gone accordingly. He does have a 4-2 record, but sitting next to it is a 6.23 ERA in 8 games (2 starts). The game hurting his ERA the most is a relief outing against the Royals, getting battered for 7 ER in 4.1 innings.

Chirinos ate up more innings than was expected, so Cash can comfortably go to the pen (even with today being a double header). Yarbrough has pitched more than 4.1 innings just once. On May 23rd in Cleveland he quieted the Indians offense over 7.1 innings, allowing just two runs.

First Pitch – 1:05pm ET !!!

Josh Smith — First career start vs the Tampa Bay Rays. Career at Fenway Park in 2 games, 0.00 ERA. In those two relief appearances, he has thrown three scoreless innings. Giving up two hits and striking out two in that span.

Tampa Bay Rays:

Travis d’Arnaud – 0 for 2, K

Tommy Pham – 0 for 1, K

*** d’Arnaud and Pham are on the only active Rays batters who have previously faced Smith.

Ryan Yarbrough — Career vs Boston Red Sox in 6 games (1 start), 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA. Career at Fenway Park in 3 games, 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA. In those three relief appearances, he has given up 3 ER off of six hits & four walks in eight innings, striking out nine batters.

Boston Red Sox:

Andrew Benintendi – 0 for 9, 3 Walks, 7 Ks

Mookie Betts – 1 for 8 (.125 avg) Double, Walk

Xander Bogaerts – 3 for 9 (.333 avg) Double, RBI

Jackie Bradley Jr. – 0 for 4, 3 Ks

Michael Chavis —–

Rafael Devers – 2 for 4 (.500 avg) Double, HR, 2 RBIs, K

Marco Hernandez —–

Brock Holt – 0 for 1, Walk, K

Sandy Leon – 0 for 4, K

J.D. Martinez – 4 for 7 (.571 avg) 3 Doubles, Walk, 2 Ks

Eduardo Nunez – 2 for 7 (.286 avg) Walk

Sam Travis —–

Christian Vazquez – 2 for 6 (.333 avg) HR, 2 RBIs, 2 Ks