Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 7/23/13
8 a.m. ET: These Tampa Bay Rays aren’t going anywhere. After blanking the Red Sox in Monday night’s series opener, the Rays now trail Boston by a mere 1/2 game in the American League East standings. Joe Maddon’s club has been on an absurd tear of late, winning 18 of its last 20 games, and the Rays can claim sole possession of first place with another win on Tuesday. Trying to prevent that from happening will be Jon Lester, who has not performed anywhere near his ace-like potential this season. Lester (8-6, 4.58 ERA) has taken the loss in each of his last two outings, failing to pitch past the sixth inning in either. His resume against Tampa Bay this season has been a mixed bag. Lester was stellar in his first two outings against the Rays (14 innings, 13 hits, three earned runs) before being shelled in his third, allowing a season-high seven runs on eight hits and seven walks (also a season high) in just 4 2/3 innings. The Rays will counter with Ramon Hernandez (5-10, 4.90 ERA), who earned the win in Lester’s forgettable start back on June 11. First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m., but be sure to check back in throughout the day for all your pregame updates and news from around the world of baseball. Filed under: Boston Red Sox, Headlines, Live Blog, Tampa Bay Rays, Top Stories, Zack Cox

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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