Losers of four straight and eight of 11, the Red Sox will host the Rays in the finale of a four-game set on Marathon Monday.
Tampa Bay’s 7-1 win Sunday gave Boston four straight losses by a combined score of 24-7. The Sox have committed seven errors in that span.
One of the few constants on the season for the Sox has been right-hander John Lackey. He will be opposite Jeff Niemann in the holiday tilt.
WHEN AND WHERE
HEAD TO HEAD
Including the 2008 postseason, the Rays are 19-11 against the Sox since June 30, 2008.
RHP Jeff Niemann (0-0, 3.24 ERA) vs. RHP John Lackey (1-0, 1.42 ERA)
Lackey has been the Red Sox’ best pitcher since the start of spring training. They may need him now more than ever.
The burly right-hander has owned the Rays, going 9-2 with a 3.07 ERA in 12 career starts.
Niemann saw his 2010 debut cut short when he was struck by a line drive. He rebounded to allow just three runs in seven innings of an 8-6 win over Baltimore five days later.
|Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, C
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Bill Hall, CF
Jeremy Hermida, LF
- Boston is off to its worst 12-game start since it went 2-10 in 1996.
- Jon Lester recorded his 500th strikeout Sunday, becoming the fastest left-hander ever to reach the milestone for the Sox.
- Adrian Beltre doubled Sunday to join Vladimir Guerrero as the only active players with at least 175 doubles and 100 home runs in both leagues.
- Carl Crawford has stolen 30 straight bases against Boston without being caught.
- Including the 2008 postseason, Matt Garza is 8-2 with a 2.71 ERA in 15 career starts against the Sox.
- Carlos Pena has five home runs against Lester, the most he has against any pitcher.
BLACK AND BLUE
- Jacoby Ellsbury took some swings and threw the ball Saturday afternoon. Both he and manager Terry Francona said he could return from a bruised rib by the middle of the week.
- Boof Bonser‘s shoulder stiffness was nothing more than that. He will be sent back to Pawtucket once the stiffness subsides.
- As of Friday there had been no progress made by Jed Lowrie, on the 60-day disabled list with mononucleosis.
- Catcher Kelly Shoppach is on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 11 with a sprained right knee. He was sent to Florida for more tests and manager Joe Maddon said there is a chance he could be on the shelf a little longer.
- Outfielder Matt Joyce had a setback on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Durham. He is on the DL with a right elbow strain but is also heading to Florida to seek treatment.
The weather should be better and a festive atmosphere will envelop Fenway, as it always does on Patriots’ Day. Another showing like the one the Sox have put forth the past few days would put a big damper on things.
The pressure falls on Lackey, who is no stranger to pitching in big games. Then again, just the fact that this can be called a big game says something about the state of the Sox.