Now in Third Place, Red Sox Look to Rebound Behind Felix Doubront

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Now in Third Place, Red Sox Look to Rebound Behind Felix Doubront Another notable injury replacement will get a second call for the Red Sox when Felix Doubront gets the start against the Tampa Bay Rays in place of injured All-Star Clay Buchholz, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday.

Doubront earned a win in his major league debut, which he made last month at Fenway Park. He has dominated hitters at two levels in the minors but will face a tough task when he takes on the Rays, who are beginning to heat up after a prolonged slump.

The Rays won for the fifth time in six games when they rallied to get by Boston in the opener, 6-5. The win vaulted the Rays past the Sox into second place in the American League East.

Banged-up Boston has split its last 12 games after an 8-1 homestand against National League opponents.

WHEN AND WHERE

Red Sox (49-34) at Rays (49-33)
Tuesday, July 6, 7:10 p.m.
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.

HEAD TO HEAD

Tampa Bay has won six of 10 matchups this year.

PITCHING MATCHUP

LHP Felix Doubront (1-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. RHP Jeff Niemann (6-2, 2.80 ERA)

Doubront filled in admirably in place of an injured Daisuke Matsuzaka in his major league debut back on June 18, throwing five-plus quality innings in a 10-6 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He earned plenty of praise for the effort, which came amid the hoopla surrounding Manny Ramirez's return to Fenway Park. The 22-year-old lefty is 7-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 14 starts split between Triple-A Pawtucket and Double-A Portland.

Rays manager Joe Maddon mentioned in passing last week at Fenway Park how Jeff Niemann has performed so well this year but has gained so little notoriety for it. Niemann ranks among the top five in the AL in ERA, WHIP (1.08) and opponents' batting average (.219).

The All-Star snub has hit a bit of a rough patch, relative to his outstanding first two months. In his last four starts, the 27-year-old Niemann is 0-2 with a 3.81 ERA and has given up six homers.

He is 1-1 with a 6.30 ERA in two starts against Boston.

LINEUPS

Red Sox Rays
Marco Scutaro, SS
Eric Patterson, CF
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Daniel Nava, LF
Bill Hall, 2B
Kevin Cash, C
B.J Upton, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Willy Aybar, DH
Gabe Kapler, RF
Carlos Pena, 1B
Sean Rodriguez, 2B
John Jaso, C
Jason Bartlett, SS

STAT SHEET

Red Sox

  • Outfielder Eric Patterson recorded his first career multi-homer game Monday.
  • Reliever Daniel Bard has struck out nine and walked none in eight consecutive scoreless innings.
  • A game after striking out three times, designated hitter David Ortiz walked three times on Monday night.

Rays

  • Infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has six of his 15 stolen bases in a span of just nine games.
  • Second baseman Sean Rodriguez is batting .435 (10-for-23) in June.
  • Reliever Joaquin Benoit has 36 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings this year.

BLACK AND BLUE

Red Sox

  • Josh Beckett will pitch in a simulated game Tuesday either in a
    Gulf Coast League game or to minor league hitters at Tropicana Field,
    depending on the weather. He may throw a rehab start in a minor league
    game Sunday. Beckett is on the DL with a lower back strain.
  • Clay Buchholz was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a left hamstring strain. The move is retroactive to June 27, the day after he suffered the injury running the bases in San Francisco.
  • Jason Varitek (foot) and Manny Delcarmen (forearm) were placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday.
  • Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was placed on the 15-day disabled list last Saturday with a fracture in his left foot. He suffered the injury when he fouled a ball off his foot the day before. He will not put any weight on the foot for 2-3 weeks before being re-examined.
  • Catcher Victor Martinez was put on the DL on Tuesday with a minimally displaced fracture on the tip of his left thumb, suffered after taking two foul balls off the thumb during last Sunday's game in San Francisco.
  • Outfielder Jeremy Hermida was placed on the DL on June 11 after an MRI revealed five fractured ribs, the result of a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre one week earlier. Hermida is swinging and doing outfield and base-running drills.
  • An MRI conducted June 9 revealed a new fracture in outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury's ribs. Ellsbury, who was placed on the DL on May 28 for the second time this year, has been at the Athletes' Performance center in Arizona for three weeks but has yet to resume baseball activities.
  • Mike Lowell is eligible to return from the DL as soon as Friday but will remain sidelined beyond that date with a sore right hip.
  • Infielder Jed Lowrie remains on the DL after coming down with mononucleosis during spring training. He is playing in extended spring training games.
  • Righty Junichi Tazawa underwent Tommy John surgery in March. He is out for the year.

Rays

  • Reliever J.P. Howell is out for the season after left shoulder surgery.

OUTLOOK

It was just about a week ago when the Rays entered Fenway Park with some onlookers beginning to write them off. They had dropped 19 of 31 games and had fallen from first to third in the division.

That trend has been reversed in a big way, and with a notable advantage on the mound Tuesday, Tampa Bay has a great chance to give the Sox their first three-game losing streak since mid-May. It won't get any easier after that — 11-game winner David Price goes for the Rays on Wednesday.

The one positive for Boston may lie in the bullpen as Tampa Bay had to burn through six relievers in Monday's opener.

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