Struggling Josh Beckett Looks To Turn Things Around at the Trop


Struggling Josh Beckett Looks To Turn Things Around at the Trop

The Sox improved to 5-8 against the Rays this season, winning for just the third time in their last 17 games at Tropicana Field since Sept. 23, 2007. Since June 30, 2008, the Sox have lost three of their last five games, eight of 12, and 15 of 22 against the Rays. They were swept in their last trip to Tropicana Field, a two-game series Aug. 4 and 5.

When and Where

7:08 p.m. ET (NESN), Sept, 2, 2009
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.


Red Sox  (77-54, 2nd  place in AL East)
Rays  (71-60, 3rd place in AL East)

Head to Head

Jon Lester beat the Rays Tuesday night for the first time this season, and recorded just his second win since July 25. The win helped the Sox in the wild card race, as the Rangers swept a doubleheader from the Blue Jays. The Sox now have a four-game lead over the Rangers and a six-game lead over the Rays in the wild card.  Winning the first game of this series was vital at Tropicana Field, where the Sox have struggled mightily recently.


Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Jason Bartlett, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B Carl Crawford, LF
Victor Martinez, 1B Ben Zobrist, RF
Kevin  Youkilis, 3B Carlos Pena, 1B
David Ortiz, DH Pat Burrell, DH
Jason Bay, LF Evan Longoria, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF Gregg Zaun, C
Jason Varitek, C Akinori Iwamura, 2B
Alex Gonzalez, SS B.J. Upton, CF

Pitching Matchup

RHP Josh Beckett (14-5, 3.80 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Garza (7-9, 3.95 ERA)

The Sox ace has struggled in his last three starts, going 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA, giving up 10 home runs. Although the Sox are 2-1 in those games. In his last start, Aug. 28 against the Blue Jays at Fenway, Beckett was not involved in the decision as he gave up five runs on five hits and five walks, with nine strikeouts in five innings. All five runs came on home runs. Beckett, who gave up just 18 home runs in 2008, allowed 12 in August.

Beckett last faced the Mays My 10 at Fenway, giving up three runs on six hits and three walks with five strikeouts in six innings, but did not get a decision in the Sox? 4-3 win.  In his last start at Tropicana Field, April 30, he gave up seven runs in 4 2/3 innings. In five career starts at the Trop, Beckett has a record of 1-3 with a 3.58 ERA.

Garza is in a six-game winless streak, and has not won at home in his last five starts. His last win was July 24 in Toronto, defeating Roy Halladay. He has just one win in his last 10 starts. His last win at home was June 24 against the Phillies. He leads the AL with a .233 opponents? average, but has received the lowest run support in the league at 3.73 runs per nine innings. The Rays have scored a total of 18 runs in his nine losses. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 19-of-26 starts this season, including 17 of his last 22. 

This is his 11th career start against the Sox and fifth this season. He has a career record of 5-1 with a 2.93 ERA (20 earned runs in 61 1/3 innings).This season he is 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA against the Sox. His last start against the Sox was Aug. 4 in Tampa Bay. He did not get a decision, as the Rays won, 4-2 in 13 innings. 

Stat Sheet

Red Sox
The Sox are 32-33 on the road, third-best in the AL behind the Angels and Yankees.

Since Aug, 10, the Sox are 15-6 (.714), tied with the Yankees for the best record in the AL.

The Sox 13 losses at Tropicana Field since the start of the 2008 season are the most by any visiting team.

The Sox finished August with 50 home runs, a team record for the month. They have hit more homers in a month just twice previously, 55 in July 2003, and 53 in July 1964. They have hit homers in 14 of their last 16 games, with multiple homers in 11 of those games.

David Ortiz has 268 career home runs as a designated hitter, one shy of tying Frank Thomas for the all-time lead in that category. He is tied for second in the AL with Carlos Pena with 21 homers since June 6, trailing Kendry Morales by one.

Ortiz has 99 career RBI against the Rays, fifth all-time. Derek Jeter is fourth with 108. His 34 career home runs against the Rays are his most against any opponent, and are third all-time against the Rays, trailing Alex Rodriguez (39) for second.

Sox pitchers have eight shutouts this season.

Kevin Youkilis
is the ninth Sox batter in history to record more than 30 doubles in at least four straight seasons, and the first since Johnny Damon (2002-2005).

Youkilis has hit safely in nine of his 10 games against the Rays this season.

Victor Martinez
has hit safely in nine of his 10 games against the Rays this season.

In 12 career games against the Rays, Ramon Ramirez has pitched 11 scoreless innings, including eight shutout innings in eight outings this season.

Rocco Baldelli has six home runs this season, his most since 16 in 2006.

The Sox are hitting .201 (38-for-189) against Garza, with six home runs, 18 RBI, 15 walks, and 44 strikeouts.

Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting .346 (5-for-26) against him, with an RBI, two walks, and three strikeouts.

Nick Green and Brian Anderson are both hitting .400 (2-for-5), the only other Sox batters over .300 against Garza

Ortiz is hitting just .111 (2-for-18) against Garza but has two of the teams six home runs, with nine strikeouts.

Victor Martinez is 3-for-13 (.231) while Jason Varitek is 2-for-13 (.154) against Garza.

The Rays are 15-2-1 in their last 17 series at home, including five sweeps.

The Rays are 42-22 (.656) at home this season, third in the AL, behind the Yankees (45-20, .692) and Sox (45-21, .682).

Since the start of the 2008 season, the Rays have a 99-46 (.683) record at home, just behind the Sox (101-46, .687) for the best in the majors.

Carlos Pena
had 12 home runs in August, just behind his team-record 13 homers in September 2007.  He has 29 homers in August in the last three seasons, his most of any month and most of any player in the majors.

The Rays are 14-3 in their last 17 games against the Sox at Tropicana Field since Sept. 23, 2007. The Rays have beaten the Sox 13 times at home since the start of the 2008 season, their most wins against any opponent at home.

The Rays have won five straight regular season series against the Sox at home, and are 23-12 (.657) at home against the Sox under manager Joe Maddon. Overall, the Rays are 15-7 against Boston since June 30, 2008.

Including the 2008 postseason, the Rays are 19-10 in their last 29 games against the Sox, after going 43-98 in the previous 141 games.

The Rays have 170 home runs and 167 stolen bases, one of three AL teams all-time with that many home runs and steals, with the 2001 Mariners (169 home runs, 174 stolen bases) and 1998 Blue Jays (221, 184).

The Rays are hitting .223 (59-for-264) against Beckett, with four home runs, 20 RBI, 20 walks, and 80 strikeouts.

Carl Crawford is hitting .333 (10-for-30) against Beckett, with three RBI, a walk, and nine strikeouts.

Carlos Pena is hitting .136 (3-for-22) with a home run, an RBI, three walks, and 13 strikeouts against Beckett.

Akinori Iwamura is hitting .310 (9-for-29) against Beckett, with a home run, an RBI, a walk, and five strikeouts.

Evan Longoria (.250, 5-for-20) leads the Rays with five RBI off Beckett.

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 made a rehab start for Double-A Portland Sunday, giving up five runs in two innings to Manchester. He is expected to make another rehab start Friday with the PawSox.

Jed Lowrie has been on the DL since Aug. 7 with ulnar neuritis of the left wrist.

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

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

This Date in Red Sox History

On Sept. 2, 1996, the Sox beat the Mariners, 9-8, in Seattle as Mike Greenwell drove in all nine runs, including the game-winner with a 10th-inning single.


?I think he?s done a good job, even from the beginning. I can?t imagine that that?s real easy when you haven?t caught anybody. It certainly hasn?t been an issue. It hasn?t got in the way of us winning games or anything like that. He?s been real eager to ask questions and to learn.?
— Terry Francona on catcher Victor Martinez

Press Box

Red Sox
Jon Lester
dazzled the Rays.

Jed Lowrie and Daisuke Matsuzaka are anxious to return.

Brad Penny says he would return to the AL East.

Errors hurt the Rays.

The Rays completed the Scott Kazmir trade.

The Rays expect more additions.

The Rangers swept a doubleheader.

Five home runs helped the Yankees to a win.

Cole Hamels pitched a gem.


Getting Josh Beckett back to his ace form will do a lot for the Sox, both in this game and looking to the rest of the season. Expect Jason Varitek to return behind the plate. Billy Wagner, who pitched a scoreless inning Tuesday, will be unavailable Wednesday. And Jonathan Papelbon, who pitched two scoreless innings, could also be unavailable.

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