The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays close out a three-game series between American League East rivals Thursday night at Tropicana Field

Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays have won 25 of their last 30 games versus division opponents with SP David Price on the hill

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The Boston Red Sox look to gain revenge from an opening series loss to the Minnesota Twins on Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park

Minnesota Twins at Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox continue to struggle during the 2011 season

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The series finale finds a pair of solid right-handers facing off against each other at Fenway Park this afternoon.

Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox

Toronto fell 5-4 in 11 innings in Saturday night’s contest against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, as reliever Casey Janssen served up a walk off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning.  “I just kind of talked myself out of a pitch,” Janssen said.  “You can second guess.  If I get him out, it’s the right pitch.  If I don’t, then it’s the wrong pitch.”  The Blue Jays are 4-10 against the Red Sox this season, including a 2-3 mark on the road in this series.  The club is 13-27 versus Boston dating back to the middle of the 2008 season, but they’ve actually won five of the last eight contests at Fenway Park.  Toronto dropped below .500 on the road with yesterday’s loss, currently standing at 33-34 away from the Rogers Centre (+590).  The Blue Jays are still bring a solid 27-21 mark against division opponents into the series finale (+1,120) and the total is 22-25 O/U in those contests.  It’s important to note that the team is 7-10 as a road underdog of +125 to +150 in 2010 (-60) and 18-31 in this situation the last three years (-670).

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The Red Sox withstood the power of the Blue Jays in this first game of this series, as a pair of right-handers face off at the Rogers Centre.

Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays

Boston moved its record to 9-2 against the Blue Jays in capturing a 7-5 victory on Tuesday night at the Rogers Centre.  “You know what?  Tonight was like our whole season,” manager Terry Francona said.  “It wasn’t perfect. But we kept playing.”  The Red Sox have won eight of their last 12 road contests and have a 23-16 record away from Fenway Park since May 22.  The club sits five games in the divisional race and just 4.5 back in the Wild Card.  Boston is 6-1 on artificial turf this season, managing to average 6.5 runs and hit for a combined .291 average in those contests.  The team is a fantastic 7-1 on the road with a money line of -100 to -125 this season (+590), but falls off to a 26-32 mark in this situation the last three years (-1,020).  The Red Sox evened up their record against divisional opponents (23-23, -400) and the total in those games is 25-18 O/U.

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The greatest rivalry in baseball kicks off an important three-game series in the Bronx with a pair of right-handed starters on the mound.

Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Boston picked up a 6-2 victory in the final game of a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians and now will head off for a 10-day, 10-game road trip to New York, Toronto and Texas.  We’re probably going on as it looks right now the most important road trip of the season, most important 10 games of the season,” said second baseman Bill Hall.  The Red Sox are in third place in the AL East division and sit 5.5 games back of tonight’s opponent.  In losing first baseman Kevin Youkilis for the year, the club will be leaning on All-Star third baseman Adrian Beltre more than ever.  He is hitting .336 with 20 home runs and 75 RBIs.  The Red Sox are 20-21 against the division this year (-570) and 106-86 versus the AL East over the last three years (+230).  Boston brings a 3-1 record into this contest as a road underdog of +125 to +150 this season (+320).

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The Tigers would be in a position to sweep the series if not for a bullpen failure in Saturday’s contest.

Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox

Detroit fell 5-4 in the second game of a three-game set in Boston, as the team is now 11-9 versus the AL East division this season.  The Tigers were unable to hold a 4-0 lead that was created with the help of first baseman Miguel Cabrera’s 26th home run of the year.  The bullpen came into Saturday’s contest with a 20-11 record and 3.57 ERA through the club’s first 102 games.  With yesterday’s loss, the team is now 24-19 in day games (+330) with the total being 17-23 O/U in those contests.  Detroit is 10-7 when playing on Sunday during the current campaign (+290) and 39-30 over the last three seasons (+470).  In those games, the offense has produced 4.5 runs per game and hit for a combined .270 mark, which is just a point lower than the team’s season average (.271).

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All eyes will be on former Red Sox OF Manny Ramirez with the Dodgers looking to avoid a sweep in this interleague clash.

Los Angeles Dodgers at Boston Red Sox

Los Angeles is set to play its sixth game (2-3) of a nine-game road trip, as the team looks to avoid being swept by Boston.  “You know you’re in a fight when you play in this ballpark,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.  The club is five games into a stretch of playing 15 of 18 games on the road.  Tonight’s television coverage will certainly center around OF Manny Ramirez’s return to Beantown.  Since his arrival in Los Angeles on July 31, 2008, the Dodgers have a 163-121 record, the best mark in the NL over that span.  In two games this weekend at Fenway, Ramirez is 3-for-9 with a home run and RBI.  The team finds itself a game back of the division-leading San Diego Padres going into tonight’s game.

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The Red Sox have a great chance of picking up a third-straight victory in the series with a dominant road pitcher taking to the hill.

Boston Red Sox at Cleveland Indians

Boston continues a seven-game road trip with the third of four games in Cleveland, grabbing the first two games of the series by scores of 3-2 and 4-1.  The Red Sox have a 17-11 road record this season (+420), which is the second-best in the majors behind only the Tampa Bay Rays (22-8).  The team has won 10 of its last 12 road games beginning on May 18 at Yankee Stadium.  Sox’ pitchers have combined on a 1.53 ERA over the club’s last nine road games, including an 8-0 mark and 0.70 ERA by the starters.  The club also owns the best record in the league since April 20, going 31-16 over that span.  Boston is 10-7 against the American League Central this season and has the best mark in the majors versus the division since the start of the 2007 season (82-42).

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The first weekend of interleague play is in the books and these two teams are ready for an AL East showdown to kick off an exciting week.

Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays

Boston won two of three games in Philadelphia, including an 8-3 victory on Sunday over Phillies ace Roy Halladay, grabbing a series victory in the year’s first interleague weekend.  The Red Sox will now continue a six-game road trip, heading to Tropicana Field to take on the first-place Rays.  The road team will certainly have revenge on its mind, after being swept by the Rays at Fenway in a four-game home series back on 4/16-4/19/10.  During that series, Boston was outscored 24-9, losing all four games as a home favorite (-592).  Being 10-14 against the division has done the Red Sox no favors (-780), as they are 8.5 games back of the Rays heading into this three-game set.

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Boston heads out on the road after finishing their last 10-game homestand with a 7-3 record. They enter a tough stretch in facing teams currently in first or second place in each game until May 27. “It will be a good test,” said Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew. “I think we’re well cut out for it. We know what we’ve got to do.” This type of schedule is nothing new for the Sox, as they have played 13 games this season against teams with a .600 winning percentage or better this year, tied for 2nd-most in the Majors. Boston is 3-10 (.231) in those contests. Look for 1B Kevin Youkilis to lead the charge offensively, hitting .394 (13-for-33) since the start of May, adding two home runs and scoring 11 runs over that span.

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