The Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox end a four-game series Sunday afternoon from Fenway Park in Boston. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. (ET).
The Sox currently own a four-game lead over Tampa Bay for the wildcard spot with only 13 games left in the regular season. Boston still has its eyes set on winning the division from the New York Yankees, who lead the Red Sox by 3.5 games.
The Red Sox have dropped six of their last seven games to the Rays as of the third game of their weekend series Saturday afternoon. Boston has lost 11 of its last 14 games since September 1 and need to stop losing these types of key matchups or they may find their way out of the playoffs in 2011.
Starting for the Rays on Sunday will be the perennial ace of their rotation and former Vanderbilt pitching stand-out David Price. Tampa Bay is 4-6 in Price’s last ten starts (-5.74 units) and the ‘under’ is 6-4 during that period.
Price’s earned run average is 0.62 points higher than it was during his 19-win season in 2010. Price has faced the Red Sox four times this season with a record of 3-1 and a 3.27 ERA.
Pitching for Boston in the finale of this series will be the veteran knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield (7-6, 5.13 ERA), who just picked up his 200th victory of his career last Tuesday. Wakefield now has the opportunity to not only pick up a very crucial victory for Boston, but also collect his 201st win in a critical portion of the Red Sox September schedule.
Wakefield has only been able to pick up one victory in his last 9 starts overall (amount of time it took him to win 200th game) and the Red Sox as a team are 1-5 in his last 6 starts. Boston is 10-2 in Wakefield’s last 12 home starts versus Tampa Bay, which makes this a very dangerous situation for the Rays.
The Red Sox are hitting .304 against lefties at home this season, which is exorbitantly better than the .274 average Boston has put up against righties.
Kevin Youkilis (hip), Connor Jackson (bruised right knee and sore left wrist) and Jed Lowrie (sore left shoulder) are currently listed as questionable for the Red Sox going into this key Sunday match up between Price and Wakefield.
The Rays also have a few injuries of their own to deal with for Sunday. Both Sam Fuld (left Wednesday’s game with a wrist injury) and Kyle Farnsworth (tenderness in his right elbow; expected to miss remainder of Boston series) are listed as questionable for Sunday’s showdown in Boston.
The Sunday afternoon forecast shows a mix of sun and clouds in Boston with highs in the upper sixties and a very small chance of rain for this American League East showdown.