The Red Sox' "break" is over. And there's an awful lot to play for in today's doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Yankees beat the Royals 7-4 last night, bringing themselves even with the Sox atop the AL East (73-46). That makes today's results especially important.
Jon Lester (11-6, 3.32 ERA) will get things started for Boston in the 1:05 p.m. day game. He's lost two straight, though both were, by any estimation, decent outings.
Opposing him will be James Shields (11-9, 2.80). He's cruising since getting smacked around by Oakland on July 27, giving up just one run and nine hits in his last 16 1/3 innings. Shields has fanned 14 batters in that time, walking six.
The nightcap will match Erik Bedard (4-7, 3.55) and Jeff Niemann (7-4, 3.43). Bedard could use a measure of revenge against the Rays; they battered him for five runs in 1 1/3 innings in his last start with the Mariners, on July 29.