American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, July 25
(All times eastern)
Boston Red Sox (47-55) at Tampa Bay Rays (49-53), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Boston - Jon Lester (10-7, 2.50)
Tampa Bay - David Price (10-7, 3.06)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Jon Lester and the Boston Red Sox pay a visit to
Tropicana Field on Friday night to kick off a three-game series against David
Price and the Tampa Bay Rays.
With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaching and both teams at the
bottom of the American League East standings, this, however unlikely, has the
potential to be the last start for Lester in a Red Sox uniform and for Price
in a Rays uniform.
Both pitchers are 10-7 on the season.
"I just try to make sure I go out and pitch well for these guys in here,"
Lester said. "If these guys are happy with the way I'm throwing and how I'm
going about my business, that's all I care about. Like I've said in the past,
that other stuff will take care of itself."
Boston's ace has gone 6-1 with a 1.67 ERA over his last 10 starts and has not
allowed an earned run in three of his last four outings. Lester pitched eight
shutout innings against Kansas City in his last start, as he allowed just four
hits while striking out eight and walking two batters.
Meanwhile, Price has won each of his last five starts. He boasts a 1.72 ERA
over his last 10 outings and has completed eight innings seven times in that
span. Most recently, he held the Minnesota Twins off the scoreboard for eight
frames on Saturday, yielding only four hits while striking out nine and
This marks the first time Price has faced the Red Sox since hitting David
Ortiz with a pitch on May 30, which prompted a benches-clearing brawl. The bad
blood between the two goes back to Game 2 of last year's ALDS, when Ortiz
homered twice off Price and drew the left-hander's ire by admiring one of the
"I have no more respect for him," Ortiz said following the May incident. "Last
year, we kick his (butt) in the playoffs. ... First at-bat of this season, he
drills me. That means it's war. It's on. Next time he better bring the
However, Ortiz injured his back on a check swing late in Thursday's game in
Toronto and is considered day to day with back spasms, according to manager
John Farrell. It would be a big blow for Boston's lineup if the slugger cannot
go, considering Ortiz blasted four home runs and drove in eight runs during
the four-game series against the Blue Jays.
Boston is coming off three straight losses in Toronto, including Thursday's
8-0 setback. The Red Sox offense managed only one hit for the game, while
starter Rubby De La Rosa was chased after coughing up seven runs (six earned)
in only four innings.
Tampa Bay has won a season-best seven in a row as the team now begins a nine-
The Rays had Thursday off after they shut out St. Louis by a 3-0 margin a day
earlier. Alex Cobb tossed seven shutout frames while notching seven
strikeouts, and he also collected his first big league hit with an RBI double
in the second inning.
Now, it is Price's turn to try to keep the Rays' streak going.
"We need to win. Period," Price said. "We need to continue to play the
baseball that we have."
Tampa Bay is 5-4 against Boston this season, although the Red Sox have
outscored Tampa Bay by a 37-30 margin in those meetings. The two teams have
occupied the bottom two spots in the AL East since May 16.
07/25 10:48:03 ET