The Boston Red Sox turn to a consistent man on the mound in Nick Pivetta as they continue a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.
Boston’s pitching plans have a different look as Michael Wacha was scratched from Monday’s start with what manager Alex Cora described as a “dead arm.” Austin Davis pitched two innings in Wacha’s place before Kutter Crawford took over for 5 1/3 more in an eventual 4-0 Red Sox win.
“We don’t believe it’s something structural there (with Wacha). It’s just kind of like a dead arm, hit the wall,” Cora added. “So hopefully we can push him back later in the week and go from there.”
Pivetta (8-5, 3.23 ERA) is still slated to pitch Tuesday. The righty is 8-1 with a 1.95 ERA in his last 11 starts and has pitched at least five innings in every outing during that stretch.
Prior to Pivetta, whose first four career starts against the Rays came last year, the most recent Red Sox pitcher with eight wins and a sub-2.00 ERA in an 11-start span was Clay Buchholz in 2013.
Wednesday’s starter has yet to be determined after Rich Hill was placed on the injured list with a left knee sprain. Hill joins Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Whitlock as Boston starters on the shelf.
“There’s a lot of guys in the mix now,” said Cora, who left open the possibility of touted Triple-A prospect Brayan Bello getting a call to the majors. “All of the sudden, there’s a lot of stuff health-wise that’s going on. We’ve been talking about all those guys the whole season.”
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts was out Monday after being spiked by the Cubs’ Willson Contreras on a stolen base attempt in the previous day’s 4-2, 11-inning win. Bogaerts, who is now listed as day-to-day, left with a left thigh laceration that required seven stitches.
“It was a little hole in there,” Bogaerts said. “So, I had to get it right. I wouldn’t say it was hurting. It just wasn’t looking right and needed to be taken care of for sure.”
The Rays entered the series with the fourth-best ERA in the majors and expected Jeffrey Springs (3-2, 2.25) to return to the rotation after missing his scheduled start last Thursday due to a family medical emergency.
Springs will start on Tuesday after former Boston draft pick Jalen Beeks was called upon late for the series opener.
“All is OK,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said earlier this week. “Don’t really want to go too much past that.”
The last nine of Springs’ 10 starts this season have come consecutively. The lefty’s third six-inning outing in that span came on June 24 when he struck out a season-high nine Pirates.
“Pitching has kept us in a lot of games and has been a big part of what we’ve done the last several years,” center fielder Kevin Kiermaier said recently. “We need to score some runs for them.”
Before arriving in Boston, the Rays’ offense scored 24 runs over three Saturday and Sunday wins against Toronto. They were held to just two hits and shut out Monday.
Tuesday will mark Springs’ first career start against Boston.
Right-hander Matt Wisler pitched the first inning last time out in place of Springs, whose last five starts have all resulted in Rays victories. Up from Triple-A Durham, Ryan Yarbrough threw the next 5 1/3 innings.
The Rays made a number of roster moves Monday, including recalling Josh Fleming from Durham and reinstating fellow pitchers Brooks Raley and Ryan Thompson from the restricted list.
–Field Level Media