Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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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
BOSTON 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: