A two-game lead over the New York Yankees, coupled with an 8 1/2-game lead over the Rays, has deteriorated to a four-game lead over the Rays for the Wild Card, and has left the Sox four games back of the boys in pinstripes.
After the sweep, the Sox are just 5-9 against their division rivals from Florida on the 2011 season.
The Red Sox need wins. The fact that the Rays are coming to town makes those wins that much more important.
The Rays’ probable pitchers for the next two games are Jeremy Hellickson and “Big Game” James Shields. The former bodes well for the Sox; Hellickson has 3.93 ERA against Boston on the season. Shields, as always, is a different story. He has kept th the Sox at bay with just 2.87 ERA, and gave up just one run at Tropicana Field on Sunday.
With the games becoming increasingly important, and with the Red Sox struggling, expect the Sox to put their aces on the mound. Josh Beckett didn’t give up a single run to the Rays in either of his two outings.
Jon Lester is on his way to putting up a career-best in ERA as he’s currently at 3.07, but on the other hand, he has 4.00 ERA against the Rays.
So it is with great uncertainty that we ask, how many games will the Red Sox win in this series?