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.
Tampa Bay has won six of 10 matchups this year.
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.
|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
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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