A quality pitching matchup will be featured Wednesday night when the Rays send ace Chris Archer to the mound and the Red Sox go with Rick Porcello.
Neither has been in top form this season, but that could turn around at Fenway Park.
Archer took the loss against the Indians on Thursday, dropping him to 0-3 with a 5.87 ERA in three starts. He is now 0-6 with a 5.83 ERA in nine starts since picking up his last win on Aug. 31 at Baltimore. Opponents are batting .289 (55-for-190) over that stretch.
"I haven't had my A slider yet and I've still had some pretty decent results," Archer said. "I'm thinking that I can definitely use my changeup a little more. My fastball's been OK, but I think at the end of the day, the sharpness of my slider has been the difference maker. Look at the balls that I've had damage on. They're not-executed sliders. Maybe decent action, but not in the right location."
Archer maintains that he has not lost confidence despite the streak.
"How do you navigate through that?" Archer said. "Trust yourself, period. Just like any other walk of life when you're struggling. You look in the mirror and say, 'I can do this. I can get this done.' And then you typically get it done with that attitude."
Archer is 1-6 in 11 career starts against the Red Sox with a 5.14 ERA.
Porcello recorded wins in his first two starts of the season, both against the Blue Jays even though he has a 5.11 ERA. The long ball was Porcello's only problem in both outings. He gave up two to Jose Bautista in his first start and two to Edwin Encarnacion last time out.
"He did a really nice job with throwing his fastball to both sides of the plate," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Against a powerful, right-handed hitting lineup, I thought he pitched in effectively. He used enough secondary pitches to set up his fastball."
Porcello is 5-4 in 11 career starts against the Rays.
Three things to know about this game
• Rays manager Kevin Cash said there was a good chance Hank Conger will start at catcher for the Rays. He is 0-for-7 throwing out would-be basestealers this season and 0-for-44 dating back to May 27.
• After starting nine of the first 10 games this season, Brock Holt was out of the lineup for the last three. He will return to left field for this one against Archer. Holt had a strong road trip to start the season, but he is 1-for-13 on this homestand.
• Brad Miller has two at-bats against Porcello and homered in each during a game last season. David Ortiz has had success against Archer over the years, going 9-for-26 with two homers and 11 RBIs.