Red Sox Live Blog: Sox Shut Down by Jeff Niemann, Must Settle for Split of Doubleheader

Postgame, Rays 6-2: About five minutes after this one ended I saw David Ortiz limp out a back door with a boot on his right foot.

Terry Francona said that Ortiz will be fitted with the boot but that it is not a situation that will require a stint on the disabled list.

I would not expect to see Ortiz on Wednesday and we still won’t know the status of Marco Scutaro and Kevin Youkilis until we see that lineup card, which will be posted in a little over 10 hours.

Then, just a few hours after that, David Price will face John Lackey as both teams go for a series win. Look for the live blog to be up and active bright and early. Thanks for following along tonight.

Final, Rays 6-2: Doubleheaders can be a recipe for disaster for pitching staffs. Nothing was further from the case for the Rays on Tuesday, though.

After James Shields went the distance in a losing effort in Game 1, it was Jeff Niemann tossing a complete game — this one a win — in the nightcap.

Niemann just finished off a three-hit, 10-strikeout gem with a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth to seal the win for the Rays.

Be sure to check back a little later for more reaction, and if you really need your fix, stay tuned for NESN’s pregame coverage, and be sure to check out Tony Lee pinch-hit for Heidi, proving once and for all that bald really is beautiful.

Mid 9th, Rays 6-2: On July 15, Dan Wheeler gave up two runs in just an inning of work. In the month since, he’s allowed exactly zero runs.

Wheeler extended his scoreless streak to 9 2/3 innings with another scoreless frame in the ninth. He was able to work around a Johnny Damon two-out double.

The Sox have three outs to score four runs or this one is history.

End 8th, Rays 6-2: If it weren’t for the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox would be looking at a pretty disappointing day at the Fens.

Ellsbury’s home run gave the Sox the decision over James Shields in the day game, but Jeff Niemann has been dominant in the nightcap.

The big guy just sent the Sox down in order in the eighth, including a pair of strikeouts to give him an even 10 for the night.

Top 8th, Rays 6-2: The Red Sox have looked a little sloppy on defense in the second game of the double-dip, save for the whole triple play thing.

They had B.J. Upton picked off of a first, but with Ben Zobrist making a move for home from third during the rundown, Mike Aviles threw behind Zobrist, forcing Jed Lowrie to rush his throw. That, did not work out as planned, as the ball got away from Jason Varitek. It technically went as a double-steal, but it was certainly a play in which the Sox should have come away with an out.

Casey Kotchman — he of the plus-.330 batting average — followed with an RBI single to give the Rays a 6-2 lead.

Top 8th, Rays 4-2: The bad news for the Red Sox is that they now trail the Rays 4-2.

The good news — if you’re into that kind of thing — is that Matt Albers isn’t wearing a baseball somewhere on his body.

He allowed a single to Johnny Damon that was in the neighborhood of the mound, and then B.J. Upton smashed an RBI single up the middle that almost took off Albers’ head.

At any rate, the Rays build a two-run lead, and Franklin Morales is coming on to try and work out of this little jam.

End 7th, Rays 3-2: Nothing happenin’ in the bottom of the seventh for the Red Sox.

Jeff Niemann ended it with a three-pitch strikeout of Mike Aviles.

I will now hand you off to the great Mike Cole, who will take you to the finish line as I go sink the ratings.

Mid 7th, Rays 3-2: Jacoby Ellsbury has homered in both games today, Sean Rodriguez has been hit by a pitch in both games and Dustin Pedroia has made a sensational diving catch in both games.

With Rodriguez on second (he was hit by the second pitch thrown by Matt Albers) and two outs, Desmond Jennings smoked a low line drive to Pedroia’s right. He tracked it beautifully and snagged it an inch or so off the ground.

Pedroia had a play that may have been better to finish the first game.

Josh Reddick leads off the bottom of the seventh against Jeff Niemann, who is at 85 pitches.

End 6th, Rays 3-2: All five of Boston’s runs today have come on home runs and four of them have been driven in by Jacoby Ellsbury.

Ellsbury just cranked a solo shot, his second blast of the day, to halve the deficit. Ellsbury is now at 22 home runs to go along with his 31 steals.

Erik Bedard’s line: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K.

The Sox will take that any day, and they have to feel great about the progress from start to start Bedard has made coming off that knee injury.

Mid 6th, Rays 3-1: If that’s it for Erik Bedard, it will be his first quality start since June 27.

He finished the sixth with his 102nd pitch, which resulted in a long fly out off the bat of Casey Kotchman.

Matt Albers had been warming. Nobody is right now, but Albers may get up again while the Red Sox bat. (Update: Albers is up again. That will do it for Bedard.)

End 5th, Rays 3-1: Jeff Niemann has retired nine of 10 batters since Jason Varitek’s solo homer, and the one he did not had an infield hit.

Niemann ended the fifth with strikeouts of Jason Varitek and Darnell McDonald.

Matt Albers is warming as Erik Bedard prepares to work into the sixth inning for the first time with the Red Sox.

Mid 5th, Rays 3-1: It’s remarkable how Tampa Bay left fielders have made Carl Crawford’s struggles seem even more massive than they already are.

You will recall Sam Fuld, who took over when Manny Ramirez abruptly retired, come in here and torch Red Sox pitching in a quick series back in April.

It’s now Desmond Jennings’ turn. Jennings just took Erik Bedard out of the park for his fifth home run of the season. Jennings is batting .344 with five homers and nine steals in just 23 games. Crawford is down to .251 with his 0-for-5, three-strikeout effort today.

End 4th, Rays 2-1: The triple play that ended the top of the fourth has so stunned some of us that the zero has yet to be placed in the Tampa Bay half of the inning on the Green Monster scoreboard.

Oh, there it is. We’re good now.

And they can put a zero on the bottom half after Jeff Niemann works a quick inning of his own.

That triple play was a life saver for Erik Bedard. His pitch count was at 68 with no outs in the fourth before it took place. It’s now at a much more manageable 69 with no outs in the fifth.

Mid 4th, Rays 2-1: History at the old ballpark!

After the Rays get a pair of singles to begin the top of the fourth, a tailor-made triple-play ball is bounced to Jed Lowrie, who steps on third, throws to second and then sees Dustin Pedroia make a wonderful turn for final out.

This place erupted for the effort, the first for the Red Sox since John Valentin had an unassisted one in 1994.

Prior to that, the team had not turned one since 1979, when it did so three times.

End 3rd, Rays 2-1: Jason Varitek gets into the act in the third. He launches a solo homer to right to snap Jeff Niemann’s scoreless streak against the Red Sox at 10 innings.

With his 190th career home run, Varitek moves into ninth place all alone on the all-time Red Sox list for extra base hits. He had been tied for ninth with Nomar at 507.

The Red Sox got an infield hit later on from Jed Lowrie, but he was forced at second for the final out.

Mid 3rd, Rays 2-0: When Desmond Jennings ripped the second pitch of the third off the Green Monster for a long single, it put Erik Bedard in another bind, just moments after he had to endure a long one in the second.

Bedard battles back nicely this time. In getting the next three hitters, he picked up a nice strikeout of Evan Longoria, who swung and missed at two straight curves to end the at-bat.

Bedard’s pitch count is at 62. Remember that Terry Francona would love to stay away from Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon.

End 2nd, Rays 2-0: Jeff Niemann entered this one having gone 6-0 with a 2.17 ERA over his last nine starts, including that gem opposite Josh Beckett in the 16-inning affair last month.

Niemann is no slouch, and looks pretty strong early on. He nestled a strikeout of Carl Crawford in between two groundouts in the second.

Mid 2nd, Rays 2-0: Jed Lowrie does provide versatility in that he can play multiple positions, but he’s been shaky on the defensive side of things.

The Lowrie error in the second was not the worst you will ever see. He short-hopped a throw home that allowed Ben Zobrist to score on a fielder’s choice. One can argue the merits of going home vs. going to first all night, but the execution was flawed, and that’s been an issue at times for him.

Lowrie’s error is his 13th (10 at shortstop, three at third base) in just 61 games. Marco Scutaro is second on the team with eighth. He has had nearly 60 more chances than Lowrie.

It was all set up when Zobrist led off with a bunt single and B.J. Upton followed with a base hit. Those two moved up 90 feet on a Casey Kotchman groundout. That’s when Sean Rodriguez hit a grounder to Lowrie’s left. He fielded, spun and came right home. The throw beat Zobrist by a few feet, but it bounced well in front of Jason Varitek, who couldn’t haul it in.

An RBI groundout by Matt Joyce produced the second run before Erik Bedard won an 11-pitch battle with No. 9 hitter Robinson Chirinos by getting him swinging.

Both of the runs against Bedard are unearned. He has already had to throw 47 pitches.

End 1st, 0-0: You see left field at Fenway make a lot of rookies or players that are unfamiliar with it look very bad.

Desmond Jennings just looked very good in robbing Dustin Pedroia of a hit.

With a man on first and two outs in the first, Pedroia sent a shot toward the Green Monster. Jennings drifted back, leaped and caught the ball at the very top of his job as he smashed into the wall near the W.B. Mason sign.

Another factor in such a play. With all the old metal and divets out there, some guys appear scared at the prospect of colliding with the wall. Jennings showed no concern.

Terry Francona went out to argue something on the play, perhaps that the ball hit the wall before settling into Jennings’ glove. Tough to tell on replays, although Francona may have had a beef. Still, a great effort by the rookie.

Mid 1st, 0-0: The beginning of Erik Bedard’s first two outings with the Red Sox have been a bit rocky.

He gave up two runs in the second inning of his first Boston start and then surrendered two more in the first inning his last time out in Minnesota, although a tiny strike zone was partially to blame for that.

Bedard is off to a rather smooth opening in this one, getting a strikeout of Desmond Jennings to start a perfect first.

Here’s one stat to monitor going forward. Including the top of the first, Red Sox pitchers have allowed just one run over the last 26 innings against Tampa Bay.

7:08 p.m.: Erik Bedard throws ball one to Desmond Jennings. That gets us going here in game No. 2.

6:38 p.m.: About 30 minutes until first pitch. A perfect amount of time to catch up on some reading. Here are those links I promised you.

First, a look at James Shields’ one big mistake and then Joe Maddon’s thoughts on the guy who took made Shields pay.

Finally, we have a take on the one big inning for Jon Lester, who improved to 12-6 with his outstanding effort this afternoon.

One thing to keep in mind as we head into the nightcap is how thin Boston’s bench might be. We do not expect David Ortiz to be available, although that’s still unclear. It seems as if Terry Francona wants to stay away from Marco Scutaro. In a perfect world, Francona will not have to use Kevin Youkilis as well as he is just a few days removed from back issues of his own.

Then you have to consider if Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon are avaiable. They only threw 12 pitches and 10 pitches, respectively, so it would seem as if they are. However, we have to consider that it’s a quick turnaround to tomorrow’s day game. If they are used in both halves of the doubleheader, you go into Wednesday’s affair with no back end of the bullpen.

This is the start in which Erik Bedard really needs to get that pitch count up to 100 or more.

5:56 p.m.: OK, who’s with me for two?

It will be Jeff Niemann against Erik Bedard in a little over an hour. The lineups are below.

Look for stories on the site real soon on David Ortiz’s condition, the statistical oddity of Boston’s win this afternoon, Joe Maddon talking about Jacoby Ellsbury and a look at the one inning that made all the difference for Jon Lester.

Those stories should be up soon. I’m off for a burger.

4:40 p.m.: First things first. If you follow me on Twitter, you already know that David Ortiz is suffering from a case of right heel bursitis.

Terry Francona said it is something Ortiz has been feeling for some time. During pregame sprints, it grabbed at Ortiz and Francona made the late change.

Ortiz was undergoing some tests to determine the severity of things. He is out for the second game and if Marco Scutaro cannot come off the bench due to his sore back, the Red Sox are playing with two reserves in Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kevin Youkilis.

Saltalamacchia just caught nine innings. Youkilis is not in the starting lineup for the nightcap and has been wrangling with a sore back of his own. It’s a very thin group for this game. Take a look at the lineup, as well as that of the Rays:

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Jed Lowrie, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Josh Reddick, RF
Carl Crawford, DH
Mike Aviles, SS
Jason Varitek, C
Darnell McDonald, LF

Desmond Jennings, LF
Johnny Damon, DH
Evan Longoria, 3B
Ben Zobrist, 2B
B.J. Upton, CF
Casey Kotchman, 1B
Sean Rodriguez, SS
Matt Joyce, RF
Robinson Chirinos, C

Final, Red Sox 3-1: Jonathan Papelbon wastes no time at all finishing off the Rays in the ninth, but we can give Dustin Pedroia credit as well.

On Papelbon’s 10th pitch of the frame, B.J. Upton lofted a soft liner toward center field that Pedroia raced down and snagged fully extended. That’s it. That’s all.

Off to hear from the guys on this one. Back up to wrap up the first game and then get you set for the nightcap.

End 8th, Red Sox 3-1: James Shields is due up ninth in the ninth after some lineup shuffling by Joe Maddon caused his club to lose its designated hitter.

Shields might as well take matters into his own hands at the plate. Nobody else has done all that much for Tampa Bay. (It won’t come to that, obviously. Just making a point.)

The righty finished eight superb innings with a strikeout of Jacoby Ellsbury, the only man to get to him today. Still, Shields will be the losing pitcher if and when Jonathan Papelbon does his job here in the ninth.

Papelbon jogs in with a scoreless streak of 12 innings. He has converted each of his last 22 save opportunities, the longest single-season streak of his career.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 3-1: More unfair stuff from Daniel Bard, who strikes out Elliot Johnson and Desmond Jennings to begin a perfect eighth.

In his last four outings, Bard has struck out nine in 4 2/3 scoreless innings. He has not allowed a hit in that span.

Oh, we get to hear “Sweet Caroline” twice today! What a great day to be alive.

End 7th, Red Sox 3-1: My effort to be all smart and stuff goes by the boards (it usually does). Jon Lester will not be given a chance to get another out or two. Daniel Bard is your new pitcher.

James Shields, on the other hand, may have some work left to do. His pitch count is just 101.

This is why so many doubleheaders result in a split. Joe Maddon can use Shields for eight and maybe go to a lesser reliever in the ninth. But Bard and Jonathan Papelbon will waste some bullets for Terry Francona.

Lester’s line: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 HB. Just one hit after the first inning and just one base runner after the second. Solid stuff from Lester right there.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 3-1: On his 113th pitch, Jon Lester gets Kelly Shoppach to pop one high behind home plate.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia settled under it before having to reach far back to grab the third out of another 1-2-3 inning.

It’s the fourth perfect frame for Lester, who had Daniel Bard warming up behind him.

Bard has taken a seat for now. With another game to play later on, perhaps Terry Francona gives Lester a chance to get a few more outs and save Bard.

End 6th, Red Sox 3-1: James Shields has had the proverbial “one mistake” in this one. He has allowed just three hits, just like Jon Lester, and walked only one man, just like Jon Lester.

Shieldsy, as he has to be known to his boys back home, just sliced through the dangerous 2-3-4 portion of the Boston batting order. That trio is 0-for-8 with three strikeouts and a walk today.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 3-1: That’s now eight strikeouts for Jon Lester after he picks up two more in the sixth.

Evan Longoria singled earlier in the inning. That was the first hit allowed by Lester since the first inning. His pitch count is at 100.

Note: I had the pitch counts of the two guys mixed up earlier. It was Lester who was 17 pitches ahead of Shields at the time I wrote it. My apologies. They both have names that begin with J, and both of them play baseball, so you can see how easy it is to confuse the two.

By the way, we actually had a reader insinuate that Jon Lester is pitching poorly for the Red Sox.

End 5th, Red Sox 3-1: Since allowing the three-run homer to Jacoby Ellsbury, James Shields has retired eight of nine. The only man to reach did so on a walk.

In case you missed it earlier, the Red Sox have announced their rotation going forward.

After Erik Bedard goes in tonight’s nightcap and John Lackey starts tomorrow, it will be Josh Beckett, Andrew Miller, Tim Wakefield and Jon Lester in the four games in Kansas City.

Amazingly, that gives Wakefield a chance to go through two more cities (KC and Arlington) in his quest for 200. It has already had stops in Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis and Seattle.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 3-1: Jon Lester could only get halfway to Roger Clemens’ team record of eight consecutive strikeouts. Kelly Shoppach led off the fifth with a grounder to short.

Still, that was part of a tidy six-pitch inning for Lester, who is at just 68 through five. He was at 42 through two, just to give you an idea as to how well he’s settled in here.

Two of the outs came on rather routing plays by Mike Aviles. He already has five assists in this one.

End 4th, Red Sox 3-1: Leadoff walks usually lead to something special. In the fourth, it led to very little.

After Kevin Youkilis drew the free pass, James Shields gets three straight outs in the air. He has thrown 79 pitches, 17 more than Jon Lester.

Mid 4th, Red Sox 3-1: You can see the hitters beginning to get a little upset with Jerry Layne’s Rich Garces-like strike zone.

Moments after he missed a home run by inches (foul down the right-field line), Casey Kotchman struck out on another pitch a few inches off the plate.

Kotchman tossed his bat, thinking he had ball four. On most days he would have. Not today. At least Layne is being consistent.

So, too, is Jon Lester, who has retired eight in a row, including four straight with a strikeout.

End 3rd, Red Sox 3-1: It just keeps on going for Jacoby Ellsbury.

After becoming just the seventh player (six different guys) to reach 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season for the Red Sox, he continues his assault on that magical 30-30 mark.

Ellsbury now needs nine home runs with 42-plus games to go after hammering his 21st of the year in the third.

The shot, which cleared the Tampa Bay bullpen, followed singles by Josh Reddick and Mike Aviles.

Mid 3rd, Rays 1-0: Jerry Layne’s zone remains wide in the third as Jon Lester chucks one in about three inches outside but still gets the call, ringing up Ben Zobrist for the final out.

Lester has set down five straight since walking Kelly Shoppach with one out in the second.

End 2nd, Rays 1-0: If home plate umpire Jerry Layne is going to keep the strike zone he had when Carl Crawford was at the plate in the second, it’ll be a pitcher’s afternoon.

James Shields got Crawford looking on a pitch that appeared a few inches outside.

That’s a spot that Jon Lester could hit with his cutter, so he may be able to take advantaage of things on the inside corner to righties.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who ended the inning by hitting a bat-shattering grounder to first, just airmailed a throw to second base, something you don’t always see during pre-inning warmups.

Mid 2nd, Rays 1-0: Jon Lester has to work a bit in the second, and it’s all his doing.

With one out, Lester hit Sean Rodriguez with a pitch. It’s the 11th hit batter of the season for the lefty, a new career high.

Kelly Shoppach, all .183 of him, then drew a walk, Lester’s 10th in the last three games, before the lefty escaped on a popped-up bunt and a strikeout of Desmond Jennings.

Despite rolling around in the dirt for a bit following the HBP, Rodriguez eventually stole third. It appears as if the Rays are intent on running on Lester and Saltalamacchia, although that’s nothing new for them.

End 1st, Rays 1-0: Close only counts in horseshoes and fiddlesticks, or whatever that lame expression is. (Update: it’s horseshoes and hand grenades. No coffee yet. It’s coming.)

In the bottom of the first, it counted for [bleep] for the Red Sox.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez all came close to something special, but ended up with three deep fly outs, two to the ever-smooth B.J. Upton in center.

I’m telling you. I think the Rays can make some noise in this series, and at least be in the conversation with three weeks to go.

Mid 1st, Rays 1-0: This series will give us our first extended look at Rays rookie Desmond Jennings, who had just two at-bats against Boston as a September call-up last year.

Early returns on Jennings have been very good, and we can see why. The talented outfielder lined Jon Lester’s fifth pitch of the game to left for a leadoff double, then stole second base and scored on Evan Longoria’s RBI grounder to third.

Jennings is now hitting .346 (28-for-81) since being called up in July. That was his ninth stolen base already.

The run is the eighth allowed by Jon Lester in his last 9 1/3 innings.

1:08 p.m.: Just as the first pitch from Jon Lester is fired in, we get the announcement that David Ortiz has been scratched.

Jed Lowrie will DH and bat eighth. Crawford, Salty and Reddick move up a spot. Aviles is still ninth.

12:41 p.m.: A few links for your pregame enjoyment.

Here is my quick take on what the signing of draft picks last night means for the Red Sox.

Here is the weekly edition of the Red Sox mailbag.

And then this is somethingthat’s been causing my inbox to get filled up for weeks.

Jon Lester takes the hill in a bit. The lights are on here but there is no immediate danger in terms of rain. We should be good to go.

11:45 a.m.: It’s hard to label the Red Sox mediocre, but this has not been their very best stretch of baseball.

They are 9-8 in their last 17 games, a span that has seen their three-game lead over the Yankees vanish completely. The two teams are tied entering Tuesday.

For several reasons, this “mediocrity” could continue for a bit.

First of all, we all know how difficult it is to sweep a doubleheader. In its long history, Boston has split a doubleheader 827 times and has been swept 444 times in a total of 1,765.

OK, that means little as they’ve swept 494 twinbills, but you see teams go for broke in one game if they have a chance to nail down a win and it can often hurt them in the second game.

Also, Tampa Bay will be throwing out the best it has to offer in this series with James Shields, Jeff Niemann and David Price, three guys who can shut down a lineup on any given day.

That makes no mention of the quirkiness of Boston’s schedule, which sees them shove these three games into about 27 hours before hitting the road again for eight straight. I asked Terry Francona before the game what it was like to barrel through this portion of the schedule. He stressed that every team has to go through stuff like this, but it certainly is notable how the Sox are being played with a bit right now.

“Other than the fact that I didn’t unpack, it’s weird,” Francona said. “These are the stretches where you see guys with the sniffles, tight legs.”

And with three games in just over a 24-hour period, that kind of stuff can only be increased. It may take some time before the club rediscovers that July dominance, if indeed it does. That’s not meant to be all gloom and doom, it’s just the reality of the schedule. Last month there were a lot of patsies lined up on the slate.

10:58 a.m.: As a light rain falls here at Fenway, we have the lineups and a few pregame notes to pass on.

First, the Red Sox:

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Josh Reddick, RF
Mike Aviles, SS

And now, the Rays:

Desmond Jennings, LF
Sam Fuld, RF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Ben Zobrist, DH
B.J. Upton, CF
Casey Kotchman, 1B
Sean Rodriguez, 2B
Kelly Shoppach, C
Elliot Johnson, SS

Terry Francona said that Marco Scutaro’s back is still hurting him. He will be getting some treatment but do not expect to see him today, and perhaps not until the road trip begins Thursday. Aviles will probably play both games today, once at short and once somewhere else. Lowrie will probably play short tonight and tomorrow afternoon against lefty David Price.

As for others with physical issues, Bobby Jenks is scheduled to have a throwing session in Florida today. We should have more news on him within the next day or so as he looks to return for the final month of the year, or thereabouts.

J.D. Drew continues to hit and take fly balls. He may be a week or so from beginning a rehab assignment, but don’t expect him back before Sept. 1. That will allow the team to avoid having to make any moves, as we pointed out here. As bad as he has looked at times this year, a healthy Drew could provide an impact down the stretch and in the postseason. He’s been there before, and has produced. Don’t write him off just yet.

Back with more in a moment.

10:08 a.m.:Greetings from Fenway Park, where we are settling in for a long day and night at the park. It appears as if the weather will cooperate, which is great news.

We should have the lineups over for you in a bit. In the meantime, here is a little light readingto get you in the Red Sox mood.

7 a.m. ET: One of the quickest homestands you will ever see begins Tuesday when the Red Sox return to Fenway Park for a doubleheader with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The day-night twinbill precedes a day game Wednesday before Boston heads back out on the road for eight straight.

Jon Lester gets the start in the 1:05 p.m. opener for the Red Sox. He is 0-2 with a 4.73 ERA in his last two starts and lost his only outing against Tampa Bay earlier in the year. James Shields, who shut out Boston at home back in June and is coming off another shutout a week ago against Kansas City, toes the rubber for the Rays.

The nightcap, scheduled for 7:10 p.m., sees Erik Bedard making his third start for Boston opposite Jeff Niemann.

Light rain is in the forecast, of course. We will be at the park bright and early to bring you updates on that front and all others, so check back often.