The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays open up a critical three-game series in the American League East Friday night at Tropicana Field
Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
Boston begins life after the All-Star break atop the AL East standings and enters today’s game on a six-game win streak. The Red Sox have come a long way from starting the year with an 0-6 record. “It was a very difficult start. There’s no getting around that,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “We’re not done yet, not even close, but we’re playing better baseball.” The club has certainly done just that by winning 25 of its last 34 games, outscoring opponents by an incredible 215-126 margin. Offensively, All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez continues to prove his worth, tied for the major league lead with a .354 batting average. Boston is 22-6 in its last 28 games versus divisional foes.
Red Sox starting pitcher Andrew Miller is seeking to keep his perfect season going and much of his success can be attributed to run support. Boston’s offense has provided the 26-year-old with an amazing 38 runs in his four starts, leading to his 3-0 mark and 3.57 ERA. Miller is a perfect 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two road outings, surrendering just a single home run in 12 frames. He has tallied a 5-4 record and 5.57 ERA in 13 career outings in July. The former first-round selection will be facing the Rays for the second time in his career, allowing five runs and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings of a 5-2 defeat on June 28, 2009.
Tampa Bay has won three of the first five meetings in this high-profile series and will be looking to cut into Boston’s six-game lead over them in the standings. “We’re playing pretty good ball,” said Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. “Pretty fundamentally sound.” The Rays will need to turn things around at home, entering with an even 21-21 mark at Tropicana Field, while possessing the league’s second-best road record. Tonight’s opponent has played the team tough in St. Petersburgh, as Tampa has dropped six of its last nine versus Boston at Tropicana Field. The Rays have also faltered mightily on this particular day of the week, posting an 11-24 mark on Fridays.
Rays starting pitcher David Price is winless in his first two starts this month and comes in with a 8-7 record and 3.70 ERA in 19 starts. The left-hander picked up a no-decision last time out in the Bronx versus the Yankees, giving up four runs and seven hits, including New York shortstop Derek Jeter’s landmark 3,000th hit. Price has tallied a losing 3-4 mark and 3.26 ERA in nine home starts, but has issued just 14 walks and registered 72 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings. In seven previous starts versus the Red Sox, he is 4-3 with a 3.43 ERA, but was handed a 4-2 defeat at Tropicana Field against Boston on June 16.
Bettors will likely back the Red Sox due to their 21-7 record on the road, while the Rays are 1-4 in their last five games within the division
They’re 20-10 against the Red Sox at home since 2008 – we’ll see what happens tonight!
Comments are closed.