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ALDS: How Rays-Red Sox series stacks up


Published:   |   Updated: October 3, 2013 at 07:43 AM

The Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox are no strangers, of course. The AL East rivals faced each other 19 times this season, with the Red Sox winning the series.

GAME 1

When: Friday at 3:07 p.m.

TV: TBS

Radio: 620 AM, 95.3 FM

AT STAKE

The winner of this best-of-five series advances to play the Detroit Tigers or Oakland A’s in the American League Championship Series.

SEASON SERIES

(Red Sox won, 12-7)

Date

Result (*)

WP/LP

Save

4/13

SOX 2, Rays 1

Tazawa/Gomes

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4/14

SOX 5, Rays 0

Buchholz/Cobb

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4/15

SOX 3, Rays 2

Bailey/Peralta

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5/14

RAYS 5, Sox 3

Moore/Lackey

Rodney

5/15

Sox 9, RAYS 2

Lester/Price

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5/16

Sox 4, RAYS 3

Tazawa/Rodney

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6/10

Sox 10, RAYS 8

Morales/Ramos

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6/11

RAYS 8, Sox 3

Hrndez/Lester

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6/12

Sox 2, RAYS 1

Aceves/Archer

Bailey

6/18

SOX 5, Rays 1

Aceves/Archer

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6/18

SOX 3, Rays 1

Bailey/Peralta

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6/19

Rays 6, SOX 2

H’ckson/Dempstr

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7/22

Rays 3, SOX 0

Moore/Workman

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7/23

SOX 6, Rays 2

Lester/H’ndez

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7/24

Rays 5, SOX 1

Price/Dubront

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7/29

Rays 2, SOX 1

Price/Dubront

Rodney

9/10

Sox 2, RAYS 0

Buchholz/Price

Uehara

9/11

Sox 7, RAYS 3

Uehara/Peralta

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9/12

RAYS 4, Sox 3

McGee/DLRosa

Rodney

(*) Home team in caps

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS

Friday: Rays (Moore) at Red Sox (Lester), 3:07 p.m.

Saturday: Rays (Price) at Red Sox (Lackey), 5:37 p.m.

Monday: Red Sox (Buchholz) at Rays (Cobb), TBA

Tuesday: Red Sox (Peavy) at Rays (Archer), TBA, if necessary

Thursday: Rays (Moore/Price) at Red Sox (Lester), TBA, if necessary

RED SOX ROTATION

The Red Sox have been off since Sunday and have the luxury of setting their starting pitchers for this series. It may not be an elite starting staff, but it’s solid and deep. It says a lot about the depth that savvy veteran Ryan Dempster won’t make a start in the series. The big surprise in the rotation has been Clay Buchholz. Despite missing three months with a strained shoulder, Buchholz was 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA. He also beat the Rays twice this season, allowing no runs in 13 innings and just five hits, while striking out 17. Game 1 starter Jon Lester has had four starts against the Rays. In three of his starts, Lester was 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA. But his one loss against the Rays was awful. In that game, on June 11, he allowed seven earned runs in 4 innings. Game 2 starter John Lackey has had a bounce-back year despite the 10-13 record. After missing all of 2012 with Tommy John surgery, Lackey limited opponents to a .247 batting average and had a 3.52 ERA. However, against the Rays in a pair of starts, he had an 8.10 ERA. Jake Peavy will be making his third start against the Rays. The July acquisition from the White Sox was 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA against Tampa Bay.

RAYS ROTATION

In a perfect world, the Rays would be in the position the Red Sox are in, having set their rotation with David Price and Alex Cobb followed by Matt Moore. But having to play the tiebreaker Monday followed by the wild-card game Wednesday threw a wrench into those plans. Or maybe not. Having Matt Moore start Game 1 is not a bad option. He was 2-0 against Boston this season with a 1.80 ERA. Price, fresh of his 118-pitch complete game Monday against Texas will match up against Lackey in Game 2. Price has a 2.47 ERA against the Red Sox this season, with just three walks and 30 strikeouts in 32 innings. However, if you take out his May 15 outing in which he allowed four earned runs in 2 innings, he has a 1.48 ERA against Boston. Cobb has not fared as well, as he has a 5.16 ERA in four starts. The big question mark is who pitches Game 4. Will it be Chris Archer? In two June starts against Boston, he was 0-2 with a 5.19 ERA. Roberto Hernandez is another option. In two starts, he was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA.

BULLPENS

Since becoming the Red Sox closer, Koji Uehara has saved 21 of 24 opportunities while compiling a 1.09 ERA. With talented lefties Craig Breslow and Matt Thornton able to attack left-handed hitters, Boston is tough to beat late in the game. The Rays bullpen is a tired bunch. Except for Fernando Rodney, the late-inning relievers, including Jake McGee and Joel Peralta, have been used quite often and have lost some of their effectiveness.

RED SOX OFFENSE

This isn’t your typical Red Sox offense. In fact, take away David Ortiz (30 home runs) and Mike Napoli (23) and no player on the roster has more than 17 homers. GM Ben Cherington deserves a lot of credit for rebuilding this team in such a short period of time. Jacoby Ellsbury (back after missing almost a month with a fractured foot) and Shane Victorino occupy center and right field, respectively. However, Boston uses a platoon system in left with left-handed hitters Daniel Nava (.303, 12 HRS, 66 RBIs) and Mike Carp (.296, 9, 43) to go along with right-handed-hitting Jonny Gomes (.247, 13, 52). With high on-base percentages and the ability to score a lot of runs, the Red Sox can prove to be tough on opponents’ starting pitching. With Ellsbury at the top and Dustin Pedroia, Ortiz and Napoli in the middle, Boston has one of the most solid lineups in the American League.

RAYS OFFENSE

There were a lot of critics last offseason when GM Andrew Friedman traded starting pitcher James Shields to Kansas City for minor-league outfielder Wil Myers. But the move wasn’t just made for the present, although it has already helped the Rays offense. Myers and third baseman Evan Longoria should be mainstays in the middle of the lineup for years to come. Myers hasn’t been the only offseason acquisition who has paid dividends. First baseman James Loney’s ability to not only hit righties, but lefties has well has been key. The same can be said for shortstop Yunel Escobar, who has helped win games with his bat and his glove. Add in late-season pickups Devid DeJesus and Delmon Young to go along with the steady Ben Zobrist, and this Rays team when it is swinging the bats well can put up a lot of runs.

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