Boston has won six of its last seven after taking the series opener Monday by a 6-1 margin. Clay Buchholz allowed a run in six innings and Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz both stayed hot with home runs.
Cameron is expected to be activated from the disabled list prior to the game. He was put on the DL on April 20. The club will hold its breath on starting catcher Victor Martinez, who left Monday's game after taking a foul ball off his left foot.
Lester will be looking to win his fifth straight opposite Rays righty James Shields.
WHEN AND WHERE
HEAD TO HEAD
Since suffering through a 2-12 stretch at the Trop, Boston has won three of its last four at Tampa Bay.
LHP Jon Lester (4-2, 3.47 ERA) vs. RHP James Shields (5-1, 3.08 ERA)
In a series featuring some nice pitching matchups, this is the most appealing.
Lester is flashing the Cy Young form many predicted for him when the season began, going 4-0 with a 1.65 ERA in his last six starts.
In his 100th career start Thursday at home, he recorded his fifth career complete game to defeat the Minnesota Twins. At 46-18 (.719) in his career, Lester has the ninth-highest winning percentage ever through a pitcher's first 100 starts.
Lester is 6-3 with a 4.50 ERA against Tampa Bay.
Shields got the win against Boston at Fenway Park back on April 17, giving up four runs in 6 2/3 innings. The 28-year-old righty has a remarkable 66-to-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio, fanning 45 men in just 36 1/3 innings over his last five starts.
|Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
J.D. Drew, RF
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jeremy Hermida, LF
Jason Varitek, C
Mike Cameron, CF
|Jason Bartlett, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Ben Zobrist, 2B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Willy Aybar, DH
Carlos Pena, 1B
B.J. Upton, CF
Dioner Navarro, C
Gabe Kapler, RF
- First baseman Kevin Youkilis leads the majors with 36 walks.
- The Sox are 15-4 in the last 19 starts made by Clay Buchholz.
- Third baseman Adrian Beltre has multiple hits in five of his last six games.
- First baseman Carlos Pena homered Monday while starting in the seventh spot in the lineup for the first time since 2007.
- Tampa Bay did not have a stolen base against Boston on Monday. It entered with 43 steals in the last 23 meetings between the teams.
- Rays reliever Joaquin Benoit has struck out the last nine batters he has faced over the course of three appearances. Former Red Sox reliever Eric Gagne holds the record over multiple games with 10, accomplished in four games in May 2003.
BLACK AND BLUE
- Cameron is expected to be activated from the disabled list Tuesday. He has not played since April 18 due to an abdominal strain.
- Victor Martinez suffered a contusion on his left big toe in the second inning Tuesday. He was replaced by Jason Varitek. X-rays were negative.
- Right-hander Josh Beckett, on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain, threw lightly Friday and was expected to throw from 120 feet Sunday. He is expected to throw a side session soon.
- Righty Boof Bonser had a start Saturday night suspended after one inning due to rain.
- Infielder Jed Lowrie, out since mid-March with mono, may meet up with the team in Tampa this week and discuss his recovery with the medical staff.
- Lefty reliever J.P. Howell had season-ending surgery on his left shoulder last week.
- Catcher Kelly Shoppach remains on the DL following surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
- Outfielder Matt Joyce recently began a minor league rehab assignment as he works his way back from a right elbow strain.
The Sox have to be feeling good about themselves. Not only have they been winning the bulk of their games against very good competition, but they are slowly returning to health (provided the Martinez injury is not serious) and continue to get quality starting pitching.
The last six starts have resulted in a 5-1 record and a 1.64 ERA for the rotation. With Lester on the mound Tuesday, the club can continue that streak and perhaps crawl a bit closer in a tightening American League East race.