Posted July 22, 2013 on AP on Fox
While the Boston Red Sox sit atop the AL East, they will have to hold off one of baseball's hottest teams over the next four days in order to maintain their lead. The visiting Tampa Bay Rays try to keep rolling in Monday night's series opener against the Red Sox. Tampa Bay (58-41) has outscored opponents 94-44 in going a major league-best 17-2 since June 29, climbing to within 1 1/2 games of Boston (60-40). The Rays have dropped nine of 12 to the Red Sox this year, but they are hoping to come out with a better effort in this pivotal division showdown. "Big series, two very good teams, an AL East battle," Rays designated hitter Luke Scott said. "It's going to be some good games, a lot on the line." Scott has played a big part in his team's recent success, going 18 for 47 (.383) with four home runs and 10 RBIs during a 13-game hitting streak. He belted a two-run homer Sunday as Tampa Bay beat Toronto 4-3 for its fifth straight victory. Evan Longoria and Kelly Johnson also went deep for the Rays, winners of seven of eight on the road. "Baseball's such a unique game," manager Joe Maddon told MLB's official website. "The turns and twists are incredible. That's the game we had been losing earlier in the year. Now, we're winning that same game." Boston took two of three from the New York Yankees over the weekend, including a thrilling 8-7 win in Sunday's finale. After hitting a three-run homer earlier in the game, Mike Napoli delivered a walkoff shot with two outs in the 11th. "He's a dangerous batter," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said of Napoli, who is second on the team with 13 homers and 62 RBIs. "He can do damage at any point in the game." The Red Sox, who improved to 27-8 when Napoli drives in at least one run, have hit .311 while winning 20 of 26 at home since May 24, baseball's second-best record over that stretch. Boston appears to have a difficult matchup in store against Matt Moore (13-3, 3.44 ERA), who is tied for the major league wins lead and pitched a scoreless inning in Tuesday's All-Star game. The left-hander has won each of his last five starts while compiling a 1.91 ERA and striking out 40 in 33 innings. Moore allowed three runs, three hits and struck out 10 in 7 1-3 innings to beat Minnesota 4-3 on July 11 in his final outing before the break. "Getting ahead early is big for me," he said. "When I do that, I can go to my other pitches and the game goes smoother." While Moore posted a 6.57 ERA in losing both his starts versus Boston last year, he allowed three runs and three hits in six innings of a 5-3 victory May 14. Dustin Pedroia is 2 for 11 in their matchups, but David Ortiz is 5 for 10 with a homer and two doubles. Boston counters with rookie Brandon Workman (0-0, 5.40), who took a no-hit bid into the seventh in a 3-2, 11-inning loss at Oakland on July 14. The right-hander gave up two runs, two hits and one walk in 6 1-3 innings, becoming the first Red Sox pitcher to allow three or fewer base runners in his first major league start since 1934. "As well as he pitched against a very good team in Oakland - and we're going to have a team that's coming in here as hot as anyone in the game right now - the one thing that he does is he throws a lot of strikes," manager John Farrell said.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Your Morning Dump...Sox lose, Lester scratched, Drew back, Holt to Pawtucket, Clay seeks second opinion

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump. Mariano Rivera has jogged from the right-field bullpen to the Fenway Park mound a number of times in his 18-year career. He's probably never been greeted like he was by the rival Red Sox fans on...

Bailey Done For Year; Buchholz To Dr. Andrews

(USATSI Photo)The Red Sox announced two major developments among their pitching corps: 1.) Andrew Bailey is done for the year, electing to have shoulder surgery on Wednesday; and 2.) Clay Buchholz will travel to Florida today to get a second opinion from renowned arm guru Dr. James Andrews. Bailey will be out at least 12 months—depending on the extent of his surgery and its anybody...

Mike Napoli’s Game-Winning Home Run Just Latest in Long Line of Red Sox Walk-Offs This Year (Videos)

There are few greater sounds in the world for Red Sox fans than the first few chords of “Dirty Water” by The Standells. The beginning of that sound, played after every Sox win at Fenway Park, sounds even better when it’s accompanied by deafening applause brought on by a walk-off win. There’s been plenty of that at Fenway this season, as the Red Sox have nine walk-off wins...

Doctor clears Clay Buchholz to pitch

Red Sox righthander Clay Buchholz was in Gulf Breeze, Fla., today to meet with Dr. James Andrews. The verdict? Dr. Andrews agrees with the Red Sox that Buchholz has only inflammation in the bursa sac of his shoulder and can pitch without fear of further injury. “Clay comes back, I think, with a little bit more peace of mind and he’ll continue on the throwing program that’s...

Should the Sox trade Lester?

Conor Frederick Contributing Writer It's no secret that Jon Lester has had his struggles this season. After getting off to a flying 6-0 start, he's been 2-6 with a 6.27 ERA over his last 11 starts, according to CSNNE. Talk about a downhill slide. So, the question becomes do we use him as a bargaining chip in a possible trade? He has a $13 million option for next year, but...

Rays' Wil Myers rests sore left wrist

The Tampa Bay Rays kept outfielder Wil Myers out of yesterday's lineup as a precaution. The rookie is dealing with a left wrist injury, but manager Joe Maddon doesn't believe the ailment is significant, telling Bill Chastain of MLB.com that he views it as a "day-to-day thing." Maddon added that he expects Myers to suit up and return to Tampa Bay's lineup today...

Rays activate James Loney off paternity list

TORONTO (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Rays activated first baseman James Loney off the paternity list Sunday and optioned infielder Ryan Roberts to Triple-A Durham. Loney had missed Tampa Bay's first two games following the All-Star break after the birth of his first child, a son. He's batting .315 with nine homers and 43 RBIs. Rookie outfielder Wil Myers was held out of Tampa Bay...

Clay Buchholz to meet with Dr. Andrews in Fla.

After six weeks of false hope and maddening disappointment, Clay Buchholz will turn to the foremost authority on shoulder injuries to determine exactly what is causing his right shoulder to keep flaring. Today, Buchholz has an appointment with Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. It usually is an ominous sign whenever a pitcher meets with Andrews. But Buchholz’ trip comes at the...

Ryan Dempster Takes Over Jon Lester’s Spot in Rotation As Red Sox Take on Yankees in Rubber Match

Sunday was supposed to be Jon Lester‘s turn in the Red Sox rotation, but his first start since the All-Star break was pushed back until Tuesday night in order to give the lefty some more time off. Instead, it will be Ryan Dempster on the mound for Boston, as the team tries to take the rubber match of a three-game series against the Yankees. Dempster is 5-8 this season with a...

Moore leads red-hot Rays over BoSox

Matt Moore pitched a two-hitter for his first career shutout and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 3-0 on Monday night to move within a half-game of first place in the AL East. Ben Zobrist had three hits and James Loney drove in two runs for the Rays, who earned their sixth consecutive victory and won for the 18th time in 20 games. In his first start since pitching a scoreless...

Boston Red Sox News From Around the Web: Daily Links for Monday, 7/22

Boston Red Sox Daily Links   WEEI: http://fullcount.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/2013/07/22/flashback-why-clay-buchholz-offers-a-silver-lining-to-allen-webster/ Allen Webster got knocked out of his last appearance in AAA in the second inning, but he isn't the only prospect the Sox have had that has had some issues. http://fullcount.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball...

Tampa Bay Rays @ Boston Red Sox Pitching Matchups: 7/22-7/25

Note: Pitching matchups are subject to change Monday, July 22 @ 7:10 PM Matt Moore, LHP (13-3, 3.44) vs Brandon Workman, RHP (0-0, 5.40) TV: NESN, MLB.tv Radio: Red Sox Radio Network, MLB Gameday Audio Tuesday, July 23 @ 7:10 PM Roberto Hernandez, RHP (5-10, 4.90) vs Jon Lester, LHP (8-6, 4.58) TV: NESN, MLB.tv Radio: Red Sox Radio Network, MLB Gameday...

The Night It Began: Game 4 Of The 2004 American League Championship Series

The events of this week make now the ideal time–as though there could ever be a bad time–to re-live the magic of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. It’s a Red Sox-Yankees weekend in Fenway Park coming off a week in which former Boston pitcher Derek Lowe retired. While Lowe is best remembered for winning the clinching game of all three postseason series in 2004, he’s less remembered...

TV Ratings: Yankees/Red Sox Ties FOX High (Also: WNBA, Golf)

The Yankees/Red Sox rivalry helped FOX to a season-high in overnights over the weekend. In other news, WNBA viewership has increased by more than a third on ESPN2 and NBA TV, and golf’s American Century [...]

Sam Galanis Contributing Writer Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images A little over a year after Rays’ designated hitter Luke Scott trashed Fenway Park by calling it a “dump,” Evan Longoria made nice by naming Fenway his “favorite place to play on the road.” According to NESN’s Jen Slothower, Longoria was asked how he felt about the Red Sox home park Monday night and had...
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.