Rick Porcello

Tuesday's Red Sox-Rays matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Drew Smyly

May 05, 2015 - 12:36 pm

The Red Sox will send Rick Porcello to the mound to face Drew Smyly on Tuesday night against the Rays at Fenway Park. Porcello is currently 2-2 with a 5.34 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP and a starting-rotation best .242 batting average against. He has been one of the more consistent of Red Sox starters but has dealt with his own struggles throughout the year as well. He has thrown at least five innings in each of his five starts but has struggled with maintaining effectiveness throughout the game at times. Porcello had one start -- a five-inning outing when he allowed eight runs on 12 hits to the Orioles -- that makes his stats look worse than they would be otherwise. One of the biggest concerns with the 26-year-old at this point is the frequency of home run balls that he has allowed. Through five starts, Porcello, who relies on batters hitting the ball on the ground to be effective, has allowed six homers. Porcello's last start was perhaps his best of the season. He went seven innings against the Blue Jays, allowing just one run on two hits and two walks while striking out six on the way to his second win of the season. He did not allow a home run for the first time in 2015, but still did not force batters to ground out as much as he would like. Of balls put in play, just six were on the ground while 11 were either fly balls or line drives. "He gave us exactly what we needed," manager John Farrell said after the game. "Seven strong innings. Turns it over to the bullpen with [Junichi Tazawa] and Koji [Uehara] doing their job. As much as we talked about the starter setting the tone, Rick certainly did that tonight." In seven career starts against the Rays, Porcello is 3-3 with a 3.21 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP, 30 strikeouts and eight walks. Porcello's opponent will be making his third start of the season for Tampa Bay. Smyly is 0-0 with a 3.37 ERA, a 0.84 WHIP, and a .211 batting average against. He has struck out 15, walked one, and given up three home runs in 10 2/3 innings pitched. The Rays won each of his previous two starts, and the 25-year-old native of Little Rock, Arkansas, allowed just two runs in each of those outings. In his last start, the lefty went six innings against the Yankees, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out 10. The two runs that New York scored against him were solo home runs, one by Chase Headley and one by Chris Young. Tampa Bay eventually won the game, 3-2, in 13 innings. In five career appearances against the Red Sox, Smyly has made three starts, holds a 2-0 record, and has a 2.82 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP, 19 strikeouts and three walks. In his lone outing at Fenway Park, a six-inning no decision in 2012, Smyly allowed four runs on eight hits, struck out four and walked none. Rays vs. Porcello (RHP) Asdrubel Cabrera (49 plate appearances): .295 AVG/.367 OBP/.341 SLG, 2 doubles, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts David DeJesus (25): .364/.440/.500, 1 double, 1 triple, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts Evan Longoria (16): .143/.250/.143, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts James Loney (14): .385/.429/.462, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk Rene Rivera (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout Kevin Kiermaier is 0-for-6 and has one RBI in six plate appearances vs. Porcello. Logan Forsythe is 0-for-3 in three plate appearances vs. Porcello. Bobby Wilson is 0-for-3 in three plate appearances vs. Porcello. Tim Beckham, Joey Butler, Jake Elmore, Brandon Guyer and Steven Souza have not faced Porcello Red Sox vs. Smyly (LHP) Mike Napoli (9): .111/.111/.444, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 4 strikeouts David Ortiz (7): .571/.571/1.000, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout Brock Holt (6): .200/.333/.200, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts Xander Bogaerts (5): .400/.400/.800, 2 walks, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout Daniel Nava (5): .200/.200/.400, 1 double Dustin Pedroia (5): .200/.200/.200, 1 strikeout Mookie Betts (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout Allen Craig is 0-for-2 in two plate appearances vs. Smyly. Hanley Ramirez is 0-for-1 in one plate appearances vs. Smyly. Sandy Leon, Pablo Sandoval and Blake Swihart have not faced Smyly.