The Final Road Series Begins in Tampa Bay

The Red Sox will be starting their final road series in Tampa Bay against the second place Rays. After a rough home stand against the Giants, the Red Sox look to do some damage to the Rays this weekend. For the Rays, they are looking to add onto their amazing season, and sink Boston even further down in the standings. In the start of the final road series, Boston looks to try and prove that they are still here.

A few bright spots for Boston this season is the emergence of Rafael Devers. Heading intofinal home stretch the start of the final road series, Devers is hitting .311 with 30 home runs, and 110 RBIs in 605 at bats. Also, he joined Xander Bogaerts in the 50 doubles, and 30 home runs club on Wednesday night. Between the two of them, they have a 61 home runs, 100 doubles and 219 RBIs. With only three teams left to play, the Red Sox will hopefully look to end the season on a high note. First, they head to Tampa Bay to begin their final road series.

Final Road Series Matchups

Friday night will have Rick Porcello going up against Charlie Morton. Last time Porcello faced Tampa Bay was back on July 31st. He took the loss, going 5.2 innings, allowing six runs off of nine hits. Porcello allowed three home runs in that game as well, but struck out seven. Morton, the ace of the Rays rotation, last faced Boston on July 30th. He pitched 4.2 innings, allowing four runs off of seven hits. While Porcello is looking to go 14-12 in 2019, Morton is looking to add win number 16 to his impressive season.

Alex Cora has yet to name a starter for game two. However, Kevin Cash is sending Tyler Glasnow to face Boston in game two. The last time Boston saw Glasnow was way back on April 28th. He earned the win in that game, going 6.2 innings, allowing two runs and six hits, while striking out nine. Glasnow, who recently came off the injured list, was placed there following a game against the Yankees in May. The Rays placed him on the injury list with a strained arm.

The afternoon game on Sunday will have Nathan Eovaldi up against Ryan Yarbrough. Last time Eovaldi pitched against his former team was on July 30th in relief. He pitched one inning, only allowing one hit while striking out three. The last time the Red Sox faced Yarbrough was on July 31st. He took the win in the game, pitching 4.1 innings of relief. Yarbrough allowed four runs off of six hits.

The fourth and final road series game against Tampa Bay will have Jhoulys Chacin against Blake Snell. This will be the first time the Rays will be facing Chacin this season. The Red Sox, on the other hand are familiar with Snell. He last pitched against Boston on June 9th going six innings. Snell took home the win in that game, allowing only one run while striking out seven.

Looking Ahead to the Final Two Series

After the series in Tampa Bay, the Red Sox head to Arlington to face the Rangers. The three game set begins Tuesday night at Globe Life Park. This will be the Red Sox’s final time in that ballpark, as the Rangers will be moving to the new Globe Life Field in 2020. The new stadium will be located across the street from the old one in Arlington.

Their final home series, and the final series of the season begins on September 27th against the Baltimore Orioles. This will not only wrap up the 2019 season for both teams, but will be the final series against the American League East in 2019. The final game of the season is set for Sunday September 29th at 3pm.

2019 MLB Top Five Starting Pitchers

Pitchers do not only win Cy Young awards, they win MVPs. Two starting pitchers have been named Most Valuable Player since 2011, Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander. Some other starting pitches to win a MVP: Don Newcombe, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, and Roger Clemens. All of these players were top five starting pitchers for the majority of their respective careers.

Starting pitchers also get paid massive contracts. Both David Price (Red Sox) and ZackTop Five Starting Pitchers Greinke (Diamondbacks) signed free agent contracts in the 2016 off-season worth more than $30 million per year. Nationals ace Max Scherzer signed a 7-yr/$210 million contract a year earlier in 2015.

Starting pitchers also help teams by setting the tone. To begin last season’s World Series, Red Sox ace Chris Sale fired a strikeout on a 2-2 pitch to Dodgers second baseman Brian Dozier. The Sox went on to win the series in five games to capture their 9th World Series championship. Below is a list of 2019 MLB Top Five Starting Pitchers.

 Top Five Starting Pitchers – 5 – Corey Kluber (Cleveland Indians)

Kluber’s strengths are his high strikeout volume and durability. He has recorded at least 222 strikeouts and 203 innings pitched in five consecutive seasons. “Klubot” is a two-time Cy Young award winner and has finished in the top-3 voting of the Cy Young in four of the past five years. He is the ace of the Cleveland Indians and is under team control through 2021. The 32-year-old turns 33 in early April. He is still very much in his prime, as Kluber has won at least 18 games in three straight seasons.

Top Five Starting Pitchers – 4 – Jacob deGrom (New York Mets)

Baseball’s best pitcher in 2018 was arguably Jacob deGrom. He won his first Cy Young after leading the MLB in ERA (1.70). He also finished in the top-5 in innings pitched, strikeouts, and WHIP. Ironically deGrom and Kluber both pitched for Stetson University in Central Florida. deGrom is the ace on the Mets starting staff, a rotation that also includes Noah Syndergaard, and is set to become a free agent after next season.

Top Five Starting Pitchers – 3 – Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox)

Sale would be higher on this list had he pitched more starts last season. He finished 2018 with 27 starts, missing time in the second half due to a nagging shoulder injury. His ERA (2.11), WHIP (0.86), and FIP (1.98) were career bests, however, his 158 innings were the fewest since 2012. Sale has also surprisingly never won a Cy Young, even though he has been voted an All-Star in each of the past seven seasons. He has started the past three for the American League. Sale and the Red Sox recently agreed to a five-year extension on March 23rd.

Top Five Starting Pitchers – 2 – Justin Verlander (Houston Astros)

When asked who is the best pitcher of this generation, most fans would argue Clayton Kershaw. The correct answer might actually be Verlander. The right-hander just turned 36 in February and is very much still in his prime. He has thrown at least 200 innings in 11 of the past 12 seasons. JV has finished second in Cy Young voting three times, including last year, when recorded career-highs in strikeouts (290), hits allowed, FIP, WHIP, and strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. Like Sale, Verlander was just awarded a contract extension for 2 years and became official today. Verlander has a plethora of playoff experience. He owns a 13-7 record, 3.19 ERA, and a 1.02 WHIP in 152 postseason innings.

Top Five Starting Pitchers – 1 – Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals)

“Mad Max” has been baseball’s best pitcher for the past six seasons. Since 2013, he has made the All-Star Game each season (started 3), finished in the Cy Young voting top-5 each season (won 3), and has struck out at least 240 batters in each season. In the past three years, Scherzer has led the National League in WHIP and strikeouts. The only slight on Scherzer’s resume is that he has not won a playoff start since the 2013 ALDS.

Honorable mentions: Blake Snell (Tampa Bay Rays), Aaron Nola (Philadelphia Phillies), Trevor Bauer (Cleveland Indians), Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers), Zack Greinke (Arizona Diamondbacks)