The relatively recent rivalry with the the Rays has once again taken a new turn, mostly because the team profiles of both sides is completely different.
B.J. Upton, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and James Shields are no longer part of this rivalry. The Red Sox are no longer the powerhouse team they once were, and the Rays are no longer the low expectation, underrated team they once were either.
The Rays still have mostly developed talent on their team, while the Red Sox have pieces plucked off the shelves of the free agency shopping mall.
Despite their different construction, they still are trying to do the same thing: stay relevant in the American League East.
Series: vs. Tampa Bay Rays (Fenway Park, Boston, MA)
Probable Starters (Career vs. Opponent)
April 13, 1:05
LHP David Price (8-4, 3.08 ERA) vs. LHP Jon Lester (10-8, 4.30 ERA)
April 14, 1:10
RHP Alex Cobb (2-1, 2.81 ERA) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (5-5, 2.76 ERA)
April 15, 11:05
RHP Jeremy Hellickson (3-2, 4.47 ERA) vs. RHP Ryan Dempster (3-4, 4.24 ERA)
The Red Sox, who have struggled against left handed starters (2-2 in games started by a lefty), will have their hands full with Price, fresh off a Cy Young campaign in 2012. Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava are likely to see their names on the lineup card, while Jackie Bradley Jr. will probably see the bench.
All eyes remain fixed on Stephen Drew, who has one hit in his first six at bats. He has the somewhat arbitrary task of out-performing José Iglesias, who got shipped to AAA with a .450 batting average in his six games.
The bullpen has lost a little bit of its luster. Joel Hanrahan will try to erase the last two outings, where he gave up six earned runs and two home runs in 1 2/3 innings. John Farrell might put more responsibility in his starters this time around, especially with Lester and Buchholz taking the hill in this series.
Enjoy the series, and thanks for reading!
(Photo Courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times)