9:55 p.m.: Josh Beckett will pitch Saturday, as planned. Clay Buchholz will go in the first game Sunday at noon. Jon Lester will pitch the 5 p.m. game.
9:50 p.m.: Rainout! Tonight's game will be part of a doubleheader Sunday, noon and 5 p.m. Lester may make the start in the first game Sunday, so it might not be a total loss, after all.
9:15 p.m.: If … A. Tonight's game is eventually called. B. The fill-in starter for the doubleheader game Saturday or Sunday loses and C. The Red Sox lose the Wild Card by one game, the biggest Sox villian of the 21st century becomes umpire Randy Marsh. The incredibly stupid decision to start this game at 7:15 p.m.with hours of rain bearing down on Fenway has cost the Red Sox a Jon Lester start this weekend. No wonder Lester was so furious coming off the mound at 7:29.
8:40 p.m.: Still no word on a re-start. The forecast continues to look bleak. We'll go out on a limb right now and say Jon Lester's night is over.
8:05 p.m.: The rain continues to fall at Fenway and the delay continues. The longer this goes, the less likely Jon Lester will be able to resume his outing. Maybe that's not such a bad thing. Lester looked like he wanted nothing to do with pitching in these conditions, and he fired the ball at the backstop when the umpires called for the tarp. His apparent preoccupation with the weather probably contributed to his poor performance. You do have to wonder why they bothered to start the game with more rain bearing down on the ballpark.
7:29 p.m.: We are back in a delay. The rain never actually stopped as play began, and now it's pouring. It's also raining Rays hits. The bases are loaded with one out in the first, as Lester has allowed three hits over the first four batters, throwing 24 pitches in the process. We'll keep you posted.
7:15 p.m.: The Red Sox have taken the field under a light rain. We are moments away from the first pitch.
7:06 p.m.: The tarp is coming off and we will have baseball tonight. Good news for Jon Lester, who is 8-1 with a 2.46 in his career in September. In his past nine starts, Lester is 4-0 with a 2.56 ERA. Those numbers spell doom for the Rays, but Lester is only 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in four starts this season.
6:30 p.m.: Rain is threatening to be a major factor tonight, which could make for a long evening. This is the last time the Rays are at Fenway this season, obviously, so everything will be done to get this game in, including a length delay, if necessary, The umpires have the discretion about whether or not to play, but with the Red Sox looking at just one more day off in the regular season Monday, they will be loathe to play a doubleheader Saturday or Sunday.
11:45 a.m.: On this day of remembrance and reflection, the playing of a baseball game seems somewhat trivial. But there is another game to be played tonight, and it is a game that we all believed back in April would carry enormous significance for both clubs.
But as the 2009 regular season dwindles to its final three weeks, the game is meaningful for just one team. The Red Sox remain locked in a struggle with the Texas Rangers for the wild card, leading by two games with 23 to play.
As for the Tampa Bay Rays, the success of 2008 has not carried over, and their postseason chances have ended with a whimper. They now must content themselves to play the role of spoiler, with three games remaining with both Boston and Texas. But the Red Sox cannot concern themselves with Tampa's plight. They instead turn to their top three starters — Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz — to try and keep the Rangers at bay.