Needing a sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, the Red Sox got off to a good start Monday night. They will look to take the second leg of what could be a three-game climb back into contention when they face the Rays again on Tuesday.
Behind a grand slam by Ryan Kalish and six solid innings by Jon Lester, the Sox secured a 12-5 victory in the series opener. It pulled them within 6 1/2 games of Tampa Bay with 24 games to play.
Daisuke Matsuzaka opposes All-Star David Price in a pitching matchup that favors the Rays.
WHEN AND WHERE
HEAD TO HEAD
Tampa Bay owns a 10-6 series advantage in 2010.
LHP David Price (10-5, 2.92 ERA) vs. RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-4, 4.29 ERA)
Matsuzaka returned from a sore back five days ago to pick up a win in Baltimore, although he gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings. He has allowed exactly four runs in five of his last six starts. The right-hander, who turns 30 on Monday, is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA against the Rays this season and just 2-5 in 11 career starts in the rivalry.
Price remains in the mix for the Cy Young Award, ranking second in the American League in wins and fourth in ERA. He is coming off a gem against Toronto in which he gave up a run on four hits in eight innings.
The lefty took the tough loss against Boston on Aug. 27 but defeated the Red Sox with 7 2/3 sharp innings back in July. He has never pitched in Fenway Park.
|Marco Scutaro, SS
Darnell McDonald, CF
Victor Martinez, C
Adrian Beltre, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Lowell, 1B
Jed Lowrie, 2B
J.D. Drew, RF
Bill Hall, LF
|John Jaso, C
Ben Zobrist, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Carlos Pena, 1B
Matt Joyce, RF
Dan Johnson, DH
B.J. Upton, CF
Jason Bartlett, SS
- Center fielder Ryan Kalish is one of seven Red Sox rookies to hit two grand slams in a season, the first since Bob Zupcic in 1992.
- Third baseman Adrian Beltre, who scored his 900th career run Monday night, is one RBI shy of 1,000.
- Boston has not allowed a home run in six straight games, the team’s longest run since June 2008.
- Left fielder Carl Crawford has swiped 35 consecutive bases against the Red Sox. He was last caught Sept. 21, 2005, when Tim Wakefield picked him off.
- Tampa Bay used six pinch hitters in the seventh inning Monday night. That tied a major league record for one inning.
- The Rays are 1-8 on Labor Day.
BLACK AND BLUE
- Shortstop Marco Scutaro will get an MRI on his sore right shoulder Tuesday.
- Second baseman Dustin Pedroia had season-ending surgery Friday on his broken left foot. He is expected to be fully healed for spring training.
- Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has another broken rib near where he was hurt earlier in the year, the result of a collision at first base in Texas on Aug. 13. He will likely miss the remainder of the season.
- Center fielder Mike Cameron had season-ending surgery Friday to repair an abdominal tear.
- First baseman Kevin Youkilis had successful surgery to repair the torn right adductor muscle on his right hand. He will miss the remainder of the season.
- Right-hander Junichi Tazawa underwent Tommy John surgery in March. He is out for the year.
- Outfielder Gabe Kapler hopes to return soon from a sprained right ankle.
- Left-hander J.P. Howell had season-ending shoulder surgery May 19.
Based purely on the pitching matchups, this is the one the Rays have to win. If they are unable to, things might begin to get a bit more interesting.