This weekend’s series at Fenway Park doesn’t look too enticing on paper, as the Red Sox and Rays both sit below the .500 mark and are cuddled up in the basement of a mediocre AL East. But few believe the two 2014 sleeping giants will stay heavy-eyed this season.
Monday’s losing streak-breaking victory by the Sox over the Braves in Atlanta had every hallmark of a turning-point win. There was a spirited rally and a bullpen that cleaned up an early mess in the monumental Memorial Day win and it carried through the week as Boston put together its first three-game winning streak of the season.
The Rays, however, continued to plod along during the week as they were swept in Toronto by the Blue Jays. But Tampa Bay has had success against the Red Sox this season as they swept the defending champs in St. Petersburg, Florida last weekend. The Rays are 5-1 against the Sox this season and it’s clear to see that Tampa Bay still holds a grudge against Boston after being bounced out of the postseason by the Sox last October. The old bad blood between the two clubs, coupled with increasing frustrations from the Red Sox, spilled onto the Tropicana Field turf last Sunday as Tampa Bay’s Yunel Escobar and Sean Rodriguez and Boston’s Jonny Gomes were ejected after a scrum.
The Rays’ David Price (4-4, 4.42 ERA) will face Boston’s Brandon Workman (0-0, 3.18 ERA) Friday night, Tampa’s Jake Odorizzi (2-4, 4.56 ERA) will take on Boston’s Rubby De La Rosa (4-7, 4.21 ERA) Saturday night and the Rays will send Erik Bedard (2-3, 4.10 ERA) to the mound in the series finale Sunday to tackle Jon Lester (5-6, 3.45 ERA.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS