Red Sox Host Rays In Beckett’s Bid For Win No. 15

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Red Sox Host Rays In Beckett's Bid For Win No. 15 Josh Beckett is hoping some poor Boston weather won't rain on his win parade.

After Jon Lester
loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first inning, Friday
night's game was stopped because of rain and postponed until Sunday.
This means that the Rays will have to wait one more day in their
mission to play spoiler for theSox’ playoff hopes and the Sox will have
to wait one more day in their mission to extend the Rays’ losing streak
to nine games. The Rays have the season advantage, 9-6, and the teams
have split theFenway series, 3-3. The Rays have been in their worst slump in more than two years, but would love to play spoiler for the Red Sox. But, with the second-best home record in the American League, the Red Sox will make that particular goal of the Rays difficult.

When and Where

7:10 p.m. ET (NESN), Sept. 12, 2009
Fenway Park, Boston, Mass.

Records

Red Sox  (81-58, 2nd  place in AL East)
Rays  (72-68, 3rd place in AL East)

Head to Head

The Red Sox took two of
three from the Rays at Tropicana Field last week, their first series
win in Tampa Bay since September 2007.  The RedSox are 8-16 against the Rays since June 30, 2008. Including the 2008 postseason, the Red Sox are 11-20 in their last 31 games against the Rays, after going 98-43 in their previous 141 games.  The Red Sox have dropped two of their last three regular season series against the Rays at Fenway. Before that, the Red Sox had gone 25 regular season series against the Rays at Fenway without losing (21-0-4).

Starting Lineups

Rays Red Sox
Jason Bartlett, SS Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Carl Crawford, LF Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Evan Longoria, 3B Victor Martinez, 1B
Ben Zobrist, RF Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Pat Burrell, DH David Ortiz, DH
Willy Aybar, 1B Jason Bay, LF
Akinori Iwamura, 2B J.D Drew, RF
Dioner Navarro, C Jason Varitek, C
Fernando Perez, CF Alex Gonzalez, SS


Rays lineup will be announced when available

Starting Pitchers

RHP Josh Beckett (14-6, 3.87 ERA) vs. RHP Wade Davis (0-0, 1.29 ERA)

In
his last outing, Sept. 7 in Chicago, Beckett pitched his first quality
start since Aug. 12 but took the loss, allowing three runs in seven
innings. He gave up six hits and two walks with four strike outs in his
first outing without giving up a home run since Aug. 7. 

Beckett
is facing the Rays for the fifth time this season, tying his
season-high appearances against one team. He has also faced the Yankees
five times. He is 1-1, with a 5.70 ERA (15 earned runs in 23 2/3
innings) in his previous four starts against the Rays. In 14 career
starts against Tampa he is 6-4 with a 3.79 ERA (38 earned runs, 90  1/3
innings).  In six starts against the Rays atFenway since 2007 he is 4-0 with a 3.00 ERA (13 earned runs, 39 innings), with quality starts in his last four outings.

Davis
is making his second major league start.  In his big league debut,
Sept. 6 against the Tigers, he did not get a decision, leaving the game
with a 3-1 lead in the seventh, when Brandon Inge hit a grand slam off Russ Springer.
Davis went seven innings, giving up one run on three hits and a walk
with nine strikeouts. He tied a team record for innings pitched and for
strikeouts in a major league debut.  He struck out the first four
batters he faced, and the nine K’s tied for the fifth most by a pitcher
making his debut in the last 30 years.

Stat Sheet

Red Sox
The Red Sox have a four-game home winnings streak and have won eight of nine, and 19 of 25 at home since July 10. 

Four players have hit 20 or more home runs for the Red Sox this season: Jason Bay (31), Kevin Youkilis (24), David Ortiz (23), and J.D. Drew (20).  Mike Lowell has 17.  The Red Sox last had four or more players with 20 or more homers in 2003, when they set a franchise record with six.

The Red Sox have 10 or more  hits in eight of their last 12 games and 15 of 22 since August 18. 

Takashi Saito has
held opponents scoreless in each of his last 11 appearances, spanning
10 2/3 innings, tied for fourth-longest active scoreless streak in the
AL. It isSaito’s second-longest this season behind an 11 1/3-inning run from May 13-June 16.

Jason Bay recorded his 100th
RBIs of the season Wednesday. It is the second season in a row that he
has recorded 100 RBIs and the fourth of his career, all since 2005. 
This is also his second straight season and fourth overall with at
least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs.

With his three-run, pinch-hit double in the seventh inning Wednesday Victor Martinez extended
his hitting streak to 12 games.  He is hitting .357 (15-for-42) in that
stretch.   He is 11-for-27 (.407) in his career as a pinch hitter and
6-for-12 (.500) with 15 RBIs with the bases loaded this season.

Billy Wagner,
who earned his first American League win Wednesday and his first win
overall since Aug. 21, 2007, has two or more strikeouts in six of his
seven appearances this season. Of the 20 batters he has retired this
season 13 have been on strikeouts.

Rays
The Rays have lost eight straight games, their longest losing streak
since dropping eight in a row from July 21 -28, 2007.  They have also
lost 11 of their last 14.

At the start of the three-game series against the Red Sox Sept. 1, the Rays were four games behind Boston in the wild card race. They are 9 ½.

The
Rays have scored a total of 21 runs during their eight-game losing
streak, while the bullpen is 0-5.  They have been outscored 22-6 in
their last four games.

The Rays have been swept in series of three or more games five times this season.

Carlos Pena
leads the AL with 39 home runs but will miss the rest of the season.
According to Elias Sports Bureau no player since 1920 has ever led his
league in home runs despite missing at least 25 games to end the season
(the number Pena will miss). However, two league leaders missed their
last 20 games: Dick Allen in 1974 (20 games) and Jimmie Foxx in 1939 (21).

Evan Longoria
has 30 home runs, making him the ninth player in major league history
with 40 doubles, 30 home runs, and 100 RBIs before the age of 24,
joining Albert Pujols (2001, ’02, ’03), Hal Trosky (1934, ’36), Ted Williams (1939), Alex Rodriguez (1996), Scott Rolen (1998), Eric Chavez (2001), Aramis Ramirez (2001), and Miguel Cabrera (2005).

In 15 games against the Red Sox this season Longoria is batting .371 (23-for-62) with eight home runs, 27 RBIs, and .871 slugging percentage.  His 27 RBIs are two shy of Al Kaline’s 29 for the most against the Red Sox in one season since 1954.

Black and Blue

Red Sox
Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka was placed on the 15-day disabled
list retroactive to June 20 with a mild right shoulder strain.  He is
expected to start Wednesday for the RedSox against the Angels.

Rays

Right-hander Jason Isringhausen is on the 60-day DL with a right elbow injury.

First baseman Carlos Pena is on the 60-day DL with fractures of his left index and middle fingers.

Right-hander Troy Percival is on the 60-day DL with right shoulder tendonitis.

This Date In Red Sox History

On Sept. 12, 1979 Carl Yastrzemski recorded his 3,000th career hit, an
eighth-inning single off Jim Beattie, as the Red Sox beat the Yankees,
9-2, at Fenway.

Overheard

“I’m guessing just frustrated
because he probably thought he lost his turn in the rotation. He looked
forward to the fifth day so bad and then he throws 23 pitches. I don’t
know. I didn’t see it. I jumped up and was starting to get a little
wet, so I was out of there.”
— Terry Francona, on Jon Lester who threw a ball in apparent frustration while walking off the field as the game was delayed

Press Box

Red Sox
The Red Sox and Rays have a Sunday doubleheader.

Alex Gonzalez has been impressing in the field and at the plate.

Terry Francona remembered managing a new Hall of Famer.

Rays
The Rays know they are short-timers.

The Rays are a hopeful bunch.

B.J. Upton’s ankle is a hindrance.

MLB
Derek Jeter’s place in baseball history is secure.

Free-agents to-be aren’t impressing.

Do inning counts work?

Outlook

The Sox would like to see Josh Beckett resume
his ace-like form which has been missing in his recent starts.  They
would also like to prevent the Rays from playing spoiler in their final
series of the season.  TheSox will be facing a rookie in his second major league start.

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