The Boston Red Sox (24-29) take on the Tampa Bay Rays (23-31) to kick off a weekend series at Fenway. The two teams just met last weekend in a series swept by the Rays that capped Boston's 10-game losing streak. The Red Sox have turned things around since then and will be looking for pay back when the Rays come to visit.
Boston lost two heartbreakers in that series, with the Rays coming through for walk-off wins in back-to-back games. Despite sweeping the series, Tampa Bay outscored Boston by only 5 runs over the three game series.
While the Red Sox were getting back on track with a four game sweep of the Atlanta Braves this week, the Rays have been trending in the other direction with three straight losses.
- Brandon Workman (0-0, 3.18 ERA) gets his second start of the season in place of the injured Felix Doubront. His last time out was a 5 inning effort where he surrendered 3 runs against the Rays.
- Xander Bogaerts is tied for 5th in the majors in OBP (.388). That's better than David Ortiz, Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera! He's been on base 14 times in the past 6 games.
- Red Sox closer Koji Uehara is tied for 5th in the majors with 11 saves and has yet to blow an opportunity this season. He's the only closer in the majors with at least 2 saves that has not blown a save opportunity. His ERA stands at a sparkling 0.83 and his 0.88 WHIP is 10th in the majors among pitchers who have worked at least 20 innings.
- David Price (4-4, 4.42 ERA) was roughed up for 5 runs in the first inning last weekend against Boston, but recovered to shut down the Sox lineup through the next 7 innings. Price allowed only two base runners after the first inning, which gave his team the chance to chip away at the lead. The Rays would go on to win with a walk-off in the 15th inning.
- Price has faced the Red Sox only once this year and gave up 5 hits in 8 innings. Last year he gave up 19 hits in 32.2 innings (.167 avg) against Boston. Only 6 of those hits were by players expected to be in tonight's lineup.
- Tampa Bay is 18th in the majors in hitting with a .247 team average. Boston is 20th with a .246 average. However, Boston's team OBP of .329 is 6th in the majors.
- Boston is 1.5 games ahead of Tampa Bay at the bottom of the AL East. The Red Sox enter the series with a -17 run differential, while the Rays are at -27.