MLB Preview 2012: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox

The Tampa Bay Rays (4-2) and Boston Red Sox (1-5) will open up a four-game American League East series on Friday afternoon inside Fenway Park in Boston

Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox return to Fenway Park after dropping five of six games to open the season on the road

Tampa Bay dropped two of three games in Detroit due to plenty of missed opportunities, as the team was 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position in a 7-2 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park.  “I believe in energy momentum and things like that in baseball,” stated Rays first baseman Carlos Pena.  The Rays offense has been led by the play of third baseman Evan Longoria in the first six games, as he comes in hitting .476 on the season.  He has a great chance of extending those numbers due to hits in 12-of-37 (.324) at-bats against today’s opposing starter.  Tampa Bay is 36-20 in April the last two-plus years.

Rays starting pitcher David Price (1-0, 2.84 ERA) tallied a solid 8-6 home win over the New York Yankees in his first start of the season on April 7, surrendering two runs and five hits over 6.1 innings of work.  The left-hander will be facing the Red Sox for the 11th time in his career, bringing in a stellar 6-3 record and 3.16 ERA, but he’s also served up 10 home runs in 62.2 frames.  Price will not be overwhelmed by the surroundings this afternoon, as he’s a perfect 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA in four starts inside Fenway Park.

Boston isn’t sure of the reception its going to receive in today’s home opener after dropping five of six games on its first road trip of the season.  “Obviously losing is never fun,” commented Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett.  “It’s tough to start out the way we have.”  The Red Sox have certainly been here before after starting last year with an 0-6 record, but surged into first place in the AL East with a 29-22 mark by May 27.  Boston is 0-4 in day games this year, but 50-45 in that situation since the start of the 2010 season.

Beckett (0-1, 13.50 ERA) is definitely in a position to bounce back after suffering a 10-0 road loss to the Detroit Tigers on April 7.  The power right-hander is 9-4 with a 2.94 ERA in 19 career starts versus the Rays, including a perfect 2-0 mark and 0.78 ERA in three outings a year ago.  He’s also relished his time inside Fenway, coming in with a 39-22 record and 4.28 ERA in 85 starts.

Bettors will likely back the Rays due to their 4-1 record in Price’s last five road starts, while the Red Sox are 2-11 when opening a series.

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