The Boston Red Sox (39-25) begin a seven game road trip tonight in Tampa. The Rays (34-28) currently trail the first place Sox by four games in the American League East.
With three games against the Rays and four against the Orioles in Baltimore, the Red Sox could create some distance or find themselves in fourth place by the end of the week.
The Red Sox have won six of their last eight games. A quick start is key. Boston is 26-4 when scoring first this season -- tied for the second-best record in MLB.
At 20-10 the Rays own the second-best record in the majors since May 8. Tampa Bay has lost five of its six meetings with Boston so far this season.
In game one John Lackey (3-5 2.79 ERA) goes for the Sox. The Rays send Alex Cobb (6-2, 2.39 ERA) to the hill.
Lackey is 2-1 with a 1.44 ERA in his last four starts.
Cobb is 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts against the Red Sox this season.
First pitch 7:10 EDT. Here’s today’s starting nine: