David Ortiz Closing In On 500 Home Runs As Red Sox Visit Rays

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We could see history made this weekend at Tropicana Field.

As the Boston Red Sox prepare to open a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night, designated hitter David Ortiz sits just two home runs shy of joining the exclusive 500-homer club. And judging by the slugger’s history of swinging a big bat at the Trop, there’s a strong chance of him reaching that mark before the Red Sox depart St. Petersburg on Sunday.

Ortiz has hit 31 career home runs at the Rays’ home ballpark, his third-highest total at any venue behind Fenway Park (obviously) and Toronto’s Rogers Centre. Those 31 longballs also are more than any current Rays player — aside from Evan Longoria — has hit at Tropicana Field, according to Red Sox PR.

Ortiz will hit out of his usual cleanup spot in Friday’s series opener, and the rest of Boston’s lineup will remain largely unchanged from Wednesday’s win over the Toronto Blue Jays. The only switch comes at second base, with Brock Holt replacing Dustin Pedroia.

Taking the mound for the Sox will be left-hander Wade Miley, who twirled a complete-game five-hitter in his most recent outing, a 9-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Miley’s 11 wins and 4.43 ERA this season both lead all Red Sox starters.

Here are the full starting lineups for both teams:

RED SOX (66-73)
Mookie Betts, CF
Brock Holt, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Travis Shaw, 1B
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Rusney Castillo, LF
Ryan Hanigan, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., RF

Wade Miley, LHP (11-10, 4.43 ERA)

RAYS (68-71)
Brandon Guyer, DH
Mikie Mahtook, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Logan Forsythe, 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Steven Souza Jr., RF
Richie Shaffer, 1B
Kevin Kiermaier, CF
Rene Rivera, C

Chris Archer, RHP (12-11, 2.88 ERA)

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images

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