In a way, the Tampa Bay Rays couldnt begin the second half of the 2012 season against a more fitting opponent.
Theres no love lost between the Rays and their longtime division rival, the Boston Red Sox. They cleared benches in a tense on-field Fenway fracas during their last series in late May. Their respective managers exchanged much-publicized barbs over questions of whether Luke Scott was purposely targeted by Boston pitcher Franklin Morales. And theyve traded wins and losses this season like boxers delivering body blows.
So if theyre going to get right down to business following the All-Star break, it might as well be against Boston, with a three-game series starting tonight at the Trop.
The Rays enter the set with a 45-41 record, trailing the first place New York Yankees by 7.5 games and second-place Baltimore Orioles by a half game in the AL East. The Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays lurk 2.5 games behind them at 43-43.
While manager Joe Maddon still insists the Rays can win ...