Game 40: Red Sox at Rays - Showdown in the Trop

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

A couple of lefty aces will square off tonight for the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, as Jon Lester and David Price toe the rubber in game two of this series at Tropicana Field. The Red Sox (22-17) are skidding into oblivion during the month of May with a 4-9 record. That’s after starting the season with a 20-8 record, the best in the bigs. Boston was held to three runs on three hits in last night’s 5-3 loss to Matt Moore and the Rays (20-18). Tampa looks to take the series tonight and inch closer to passing the Sox in the AL East standings.

John Farrell hasn’t shaken the lineup much and tonight’s looks more of the same (first pitch - 7:10 pm EDT):

1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Gomes, LF
7. Middlebrooks, 3B
8. Saltalamacchia, C
9. Drew, SS

Lester, P

The last meeting between Lester and Price was as advertised with the two aces each allowing just one run and the game ending in extras, as the Sox walked-off with a 2-1 victory. Lester is unbeaten (5-0) this season and has a 2.73 ERA. He took a perfect game into the seventh inning in his last start and finished with a complete-game, one-hit shutout. The Sox sure could use another outing like that tonight. Good news, Red Sox Nation: Lester is 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA and 40 strikeouts in his last five starts at the Trop.

Home for Gomes
Jonny Gomes looked right at home in left field last night, making a spectacular diving catch. He was brought up through the Rays organization and helped lead the team to its first ever World Series in 2008. With two lefties starting for Tampa Bay to start this series, Farrell has given the power-hitting righty his vote of confidence to start in left. He was 1-for-3 last night with a walk and two strikeouts.

Eye on Ortiz
Big Papi absolutely crushed a mammoth home run in the first inning of Tuesday’s game. This coming after it was reported Ortiz is experiencing pain in his oblique. He confirmed that report, and the Red Sox did as well, saying he’s had trouble since the Texas series. Ortiz did have a couple opportunities to square up pitches right down the middle last night, but he just missed them, popping up both times. Ortiz attributed his recent slump at the plate to the injury, but he looked mighty healthy on his first swing. Keep an eye on him tonight.

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