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Rays @ Red Sox: BoSox feel the heat

Posted Sep 16, 2011 by Roger Mooney

Updated Sep 16, 2011 at 03:43 PM

Shadows creep across Fenway Park this afternoon. Can the same be said for the Red Sox playoff chances?

The Rays closed the gap in the Wild Card race to three with Thursday night’s 9-2 win. They can move to within two games with a win tonight when James Shields meets Josh Beckett in a battle of big game pitchers.

Beckett returns after missing a start with a sprained ankle.

The Red Sox, who have lost 11 of their last 14, are hurting (Kevin Youkilis will not start tonight) and feeling the heat.

“It’s not fun,” Sox DH David Ortiz said. “You play to win, and it’s not happening. You don’t see nobody trying to shut it down. We know we’ve got to win some games. That’s why you see myself and some others trying to play even through injuries. We know we’re running out of time.”

The Rays have won a team record six straight against Boston, including the first four of these seven games with the Red Sox since last Friday.

Meanwhile, the Rays have put the last two games in Baltimore behind them and are awfully confident in themselves.

“We’ve played them well,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said after Thursday’s win. “We should be able to get it right now, and understand we can do this. We’ve earned the right to be confident going into (tonight’s game). Let’s use it in a positive way.”

Here are the lineups:

Jennings LF
Upton CF
Longoria 3B
Kotchman 1B
Damon DH
Zobrist 2B
Joyce RF
Jaso C
Brignac SS

Shields P

Ellsbury CF
Redroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ortiz DH
Reddick RF
Scutaro SS
Crawford LF
Varitek C
Avila 3B

Beckett P

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