Casey Kelly Toes the Slab in Boston’s Final Spring Training Bout With Rays

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March 30, 2010

Casey Kelly Toes the Slab in Boston's Final Spring Training Bout With Rays The Red Sox regulars have been unable to beat the Tampa Bay Rays this spring. Perhaps one of the youngsters can help out a bit.

Casey Kelly gets the start for the Sox, giving us a glimpse of the club’s top pitching prospect before camp breaks in a few days.

Kelly is saddled with the task of trying to snap Boston’s five-game losing streak against Tampa Bay. The Rays topped the Sox 9-3 on Monday at City of Palms Park.

WHEN AND WHERE

1:05 p.m. ET, March 30, 2010 (ESPN)
Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte, Fla.

RECORDS

Rays (17-8)
Red Sox (13-14)

HEAD TO HEAD

This is the sixth and final meeting between the two teams. Tampa Bay has dominated the first five, winning all of them by a combined score of 41-22.

LINEUPS

Red Sox
Mike Cameron, CF
Bill Hall, RF
Jason Varitek, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Josh Reddick, LF
Tug Hulett, SS
Dusty Brown, C
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Kevin Frandsen, 2B

Rays
Jason Bartlett, SS
Carl Crawford, lf
Ben Zobrist, 2B
Carlos Pena, 1B
B.J. Upton, DH
Willy Aybar, 3B
Pat Burrell, RF
Dioner Navarro C
Gabe Kapler, CF

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Joaquin Benoit (0-0, 4.91 ERA) vs. RHP Casey Kelly (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Kelly is set for his first full season in the system as a pitcher after splitting his first year between pitching and playing shortstop. He got a win in two innings of relief in his only prior Grapefruit League outing back on March 7.

This is Joaquin Benoit‘s first start of the spring. He has appeared in relief seven times.

STAT SHEET

Red Sox
Mike Cameron
and David Ortiz are tied for the team lead with 12 strikeouts. Cameron has 17 fewer at-bats.

The Sox committed four errors Monday, including two on one play.

Josh Beckett has 22 strikeouts against just five walks in 19 1/3 innings this spring.

Rays
Third baseman Evan Longoria has hit three of his four Grapefruit League home runs in the last two games against Boston. Each blast has come on the first pitch of the at-bat.

Jeff Niemann improved to 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA with Monday’s win.

Catcher Nevin Ashley is 8-for-15 (.533).

BLACK AND BLUE

Red Sox
Boof Bonser
will throw in a minor league game Saturday in Fort Myers as he attempts to work through a groin issue.

Jeremy Hermida remains at least a day away from returning from a tight right hamstring.

Mike Lowell will get his next action Wednesday in Sarasota.

Rays
Infielder Willy Aybar was the designated hitter Monday. He has a strained left hamstring.

Outfielder Matt Joyce has a sore right elbow.

OVERHEARD

“We didn’t look like a very good defensive team.”
–Red Sox manager Terry Francona on the simulated game in which Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched in Monday, which featured no defenders in the field.

PRESS BOX

Red Sox
An extensive preview of the Sox as they work through the last week of spring training.

Another look at a potential six-man rotation in Boston.

Rays
The update on Joyce.

A glance at the Rays’ loaded minor league system.

MLB
A promising lefty will toss out the first pitch in Washington.

A look at the crop of rookies this season.

OUTLOOK

Regardless of the outcome, it’ll be a treat to see the 20-year-old Kelly throw against a Rays team that has been hammering the ball.

As for the rest of the team, the Sox still have some arms to look at in the bullpen before deciding on a staff going north. Tomorrow could be a big day for some relievers after others struggled Monday.

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