Haven’t we seen this already? Why yes, yes we have. Felix Doubront and the first-place Boston Red Sox (63-43) square off against David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays (62-43), who are a half-game back of the Sox in the AL East. Tonight’s game is a makeup game for one that was rained out just four days ago. Doubront and Price met this past Wednesday with Price going the distance in a 5-1 Rays win at Fenway Park.
Red Sox Nation hopes for a different outcome this time, as first place is on the line. Doubront had a quality outing last time out, going six innings and allowed three runs on six hits with five strikeouts against Tampa Bay. He is 7-4 with a 3.78 ERA on the season, and is 3-1 in his last four starts with the only loss to the Rays five days ago.
The Rays briefly took over first place before falling on a walk-off hit to the Yankees Sunday, giving Boston the top spot back. Tampa Bay has won 21 of 25, with their only losses in the month of July to Boston and New York (once each) and twice to Houston. The Red Sox look to become just the second team this month to beat Tampa twice.
Here is the line for the Red Sox tonight (first pitch – 6:10 pm EDT):
1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Gomes, LF
7. Lavarnway, C
8. Drew, SS
9. Snyder, 3B
Price pitched a complete game against the Red Sox last Wednesday, allowing a solo home run to Mike Napoli in the seventh inning. That proved to be the only run the Sox would score and one of only five hits off Price. He evened his record at 5-5 with a 3.75 ERA. If Price can pick up a second win in a row tonight, he would become the first pitcher in more than 72 years to beat Boston at Fenway twice in five days (Rip Collins, St. Louis Browns 1931 was the last to do so).
Ray of hope for Red Sox
In its franchise history, Tampa Bay has played six previous one-game “series.” Although this game is being made up for a rainout of a series that ended just five days ago, it is considered a new series. In those previous six games, the Rays are 0-6.
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