The Red Sox and Rays will matchup for the first time since last season’s postseason matchup that saw the Red Sox defeat the Rays in four games. The Red Sox enter the series in fourth place behind Toronto, Baltimore, and New York, while Tampa Bay is just a half game behind the Red Sox.
Game 1 will see John Lackey (3-2, 4.22 ERA), who threw eight innings and striking out 11 against the Yankees last Wednesday, squaring off against the Rays Erik Bedard (0-1, 7.45 ERA). Coming off a pair of shaky starts, Lackey is looking to build off last Wednesday’s game and give the Sox bullpen an additional day of rest, “We’ve got some guys down there who’ve been worked pretty good the last week or so, and trying to get those guys a little bit of a breather and win a ballgame.”
As for Bedard, he struggled in his last start only going four innings and gave up three runs in the first inning. Bedard discussed his struggles after his last start, “I was just trying to battle and throw it in the strike zone, but I had a couple of walks in the first and I got better as the game progressed.”
Both the Sox and Rays have a chance to reach the .500 mark, a series sweep would be needed for the Rays, while the Red Sox are just two games under .500.