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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, July 26 (All times eastern)

Boston Red Sox (47-56) at Tampa Bay Rays (50-53), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Boston - John Lackey (11-6, 3.66) Tampa Bay - Jeremy Hellickson (0-0, 2.08)

(SportsNetwork.com) - Being the defending World Series Champions means little these days to the Boston Red Sox who are a distant last in the American League East as they prepare to challenge the Tampa Bay Rays in an American League East showdown at Tropicana Field.

On Friday the Sox kicked off a three-game set with Tampa Bay and suffered a 6-4 loss in the process, the fourth straight defeat for a team which began the second half of the season with four consecutive victories. As a result, Boston is now nine games under .500 both on the road and overall on the campaign, leaving the club 10 1/2 games out of contention in the standings.

The Red Sox actually held a 3-2 lead after six innings, but then surrendered four in the bottom of the seventh which turned the tide.

Desmond Jennings connected on his ninth home run of the season for the Rays and Ben Zobrist logged half of his team's eight hits in the matchup, but it was a three-run double by Evan Longoria that put the hosts in control en route to their eighth straight victory.

"It felt good [to come through]," Longoria said. "It's one of those things, it's definitely nice to be reminded every once in a while you can still hit in those situations. So for me it was good. But more importantly for the team, we're fighting to get back into this thing."

David Price, who has been the subject of endless trade talks for much of the season, collected his 11th win as he permitted three runs on eight hits and struck out 10 over eight innings. Jake McGee allowed two hits and a run in the ninth, but still managed to register his 10th save.

"A little bit of the swagger is back. Confidence is definitely on the rise," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said after his team won for the 12th time in the last 15 games. "In the dugout, we get behind, no big deal, we can come back. It's a really good feeling. It's the exact opposite of what we had been a couple of weeks ago. Really proud of the guys."

Boston starter Jon Lester left the game with the lead through six innings, but he ended up without factoring into the decision. Lester allowed just two runs on six hits and a walk, fanning seven, before giving way to a bullpen that gave up the lead, with Junichi Tazawa eventually being charged with the loss after being pelted for three runs on just two hits and a couple of walks in 2/3 innings.

"Uncharacteristic with him misfiring as much as he did," said Boston manager John Farrell of Tazawa. "It was just off the edge on a number of pitches. It's not typical that you see him walk a couple of guys in a given inning."

Shane Victorino, who a day earlier broke up a no-hitter in the seventh inning against Toronto on the road, knocked in two runs as he connected on his second home run of the campaign. Dustin Pedroia and Jackie Bradley Jr. both produced a pair of hits as well.

Right-hander John Lackey is back on the mound for the Red Sox tonight, shooting for his third win in a row and the fourth in the last five decisions.

Lackey, who is 13-7 in his career against Tampa Bay, to go along with a 4.07 ERA in 23 all-time appearances, last pitched on Monday at Toronto where he lasted seven innings, allowing just a single run on two hits, while striking out three.

This is the third game of the season for Lackey against the Rays, having posted a win back on April 28 when he lasted eight innings and permitted two runs. More recently he went seven shutout innings on May 23, but he failed to record a decision as Boston dropped the 1-0 contest on the road.

Coming back to the big club this weekend for the Rays is Jeremy Hellickson. The right-hander was optioned to Double-A Montgomery just before the All-Star break and is now back to make only his second appearance of 2014.

Back on July 8 the hurler went up against Kansas City for 4 1/3 innings, permitting one run on six hits and a walk, while striking out two in a no- decision.

Hellickson Now in his fifth major-league campaign, Hellickson has a record of 4-2 with a 4.21 ERA in 13 career games versus the Red Sox.

Tampa Bay enters the weekend three games ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East standings, but is still 7 1/2 games out of first despite the current win streak.

07/26 10:21:11 ET

  • ACC: NC State at Georgia Tech

    Tomorrow at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Arkansas at Florida

    Tomorrow at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Waste Management Phoenix Open

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Big 10: Michigan at Michigan State

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. St. Louis

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • ACC: NC State at Georgia Tech

    Tomorrow at 12:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at NY Rangers

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
STL
 
Final
ORL 100
MIL 115
Final
IND 103
NYK 82
Final
MEM 99
DEN 69
Final
LAL 123
CHI 118
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
MIN
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
HOU
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
POR
7:30pm Tonight
CLE
SAC
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
MIA
DAL
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
LAC
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
GSW
10:30pm Tonight
PHO
CHI
Final
PROV 83
DEP 72
Final
RUTG 51
MSU 71
Final
ARMY 71
BU 67
 
Final
RFLSH 75
BRY 68
 
Final
MERC 75
CHAT 72
 
Final
LIU 67
CCST 55
 
Final
TOWS 74
COC 70
 
Final
UMASS 66
DAY 64
Final
FUR 59
ETST 55
 
Final
ODU 71
FIU 56
Final
RMU 87
FD 65
 
Final
CHAR 86
FATL 61
Final
LIB 53
HIGH 72
 
Final
UNF 86
KNST 67
 
Final
FLGC 78
LIP 62
 
Final
OSU 80
MD 56
Final
Terriers 73
MNTER 67
 
Final
STET 85
NKENTUCKY 75
 
Final
WAGN 75
SHU 64
 
Final
GMAS 68
STLU 60
Final
JVU 65
USCU 78
 
Final
VMI 70
WCU 85
 
Final
LATU 69
WKENT 56
Final
UNCG 42
WOFF 58
 
Final
DET 93
YOUNG 87
 
Final
GSOUT 83
APP 46
 
Final
TENNM 81
EILL 51
 
Final
GHND 64
HC 54
 
Final
CIN 70
UCONN 58
Final
NDST 61
DEN 54
 
Final
SD 55
MAST 66
 
Final
UWMIL 71
ILLCH 65
 
Final
BEL 103
JVST 82
 
Final
SMISS 54
MARS 69
Final
TXSA 69
MTST 58
Final
PETE 49
RIDE 58
 
Final
SEMIZ 61
SIUE 75
 
Final
TENST 64
TENT 56
 
Final
NDAK 60
WEBER 67
 
Final
SALA 89
LALAF 85
 
Final
ARKST 65
ARKLR 75
 
Final
TROY 55
LAMON 58
 
Final
TXARL 74
UGST 88
 
Final
MURST 85
EKENT 78
 
Final
NCOL 79
IDST 76
 
Final
MIZZ 53
KENT 69
Final
GONZ 64
PORT 46
Final
UTEP 71
UAB 69
Final
GRCN 78
UMKC 57
 
Final
WLVRN 78
CHIST 62
 
Final
USC 94
COL 98
Final
UCI 67
CPSL 57
 
Final
CSNO 73
HAW 84
 
Final
PAC 43
PEPP 50
 
Final
SDU 69
SCU 64
 
Final
UCD 70
UCSB 64
 
Final
UCLA 69
UTAH 59
Final
PORST 54
MONT 73
 
Final
SACST 75
MNTST 59
 
Final
CSFU 85
LBSU 91
 
Final
GAELS 68
LMU 54
 
Final
WASU 67
CAL 76
Final
BYU 78
USF 74
 
6:00pm Tonight
PRIN
HARV
 
7:00pm Tonight
CORN
BRO
 
7:00pm Tonight
PENN
DART
 
7:00pm Tonight
NIAG
MAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAN
QUIN
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAN
SIENA
 
8:00pm Tonight
WILL
IUPUI
 
8:00pm Tonight
FAIR
MON
 
8:00pm Tonight
ARST
OREG
8:00pm Tonight
CLMB
YALE
 
10:00pm Tonight
BUF
KSU
 
10:00pm Tonight
ARZ
ORST
Final
NYI 2
BOS 5
Final
NYR 0
MON 1
Final
PHI 5
WIN 2
Final
TOR 1
ARI 3
Final
FLA 3
CLB 2
Final
TAM 5
DET 1
Final
STL 5
NAS 4
Final
CAL 0
MIN 1
Final
SJS 6
ANA 3
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
PIT
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
STL
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
NAS
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
BUF
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
CHI