The Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox have developed a strong rivalry over the years and the nasty side of it is rearing its ugly head again. Friday’s 7-4 victory by the Rays was marred by a bench-clearing incident in the ninth inning after the Red Sox’ Franklin Morales hit Luke Scott with a pitch. Retaliation – and more fireworks – could come as early as Saturday when Boston’s Josh Beckett and Tampa Bay’s David Price take the mound.
The bad blood goes back to 2000, when Boston’s Pedro Martinez touched off a melee after hitting Gerald Williams and set the stage for a season – and decade – full of incidents. Some of the current players were involved in a 2008 brawl involving Tampa Bay’s James Shields and Boston’s Coco Crisp.
Beckett will oppose Price in a rematch of the Red Sox’s 12-2 victory April 13. Beckett is 10-4 with a 2.84 ERA lifetime against Tampa Bay and has won four straight decisions against the Rays.
Tampa Bay is one game behind first-place Baltimore in the American League while the Red Sox, who are 10-4 in their last 14 games, can’t seem to dig their way out of the cellar. They are 6 1/2 behind.
Rays Red Sox Betting
When: 7:15 PM ET, Saturday, May 26, 2012
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, Fox
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays LH David Price (6-3, 2.88 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Josh Beckett (4-4, 4.38 ERA)
After winning four straight starts and five of his first six, Price has lost two of his last three, including a 2-0 setback to Atlanta on Sunday. Price is 6-4 with a 3.43 ERA lifetime against Boston. He took the loss April 13, allowing three runs, four hits and walked three while throwing 83 pitches. The Red Sox’ roster is batting .235 against Price, with David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez a combined 5-for-33 with nine strikeouts. Kevin Youkilis is 8-for-22 while Dustin Pedroia is 6-for-20 with a homer.
Beckett pitched 14 scoreless innings before allowing a run in the eighth inning of his last start, a 5-1 victory at Philadelphia on Sunday. He has won two straight decisions and struck out 14 in 14 2/3 innings during that span. Beckett hasn’t lost to the Rays in eight starts since a 13-0 setback at Tampa Bay on April 30, 2009. The Rays’ roster is hitting .208 against Beckett – Carlos Pena is 4-for-32 with 17 strikeouts. Scott, though, is 10-for-24 with three homers and seven RBIs.
1. Boston failed for the fourth time to go over .500 Friday night. They have not been over the break-even point this late in a season since 1996, when it took them until August.
2. Tampa Bay’s Fernando Rodney has 15 straight saves to start the season, one shy of the club record set by Rafael Soriano (2010) and Al Reyes (2007).
3. Matt Joyce has two grand slams in his last six games, including one Friday which put Tampa Bay ahead for good 4-1. He has a team-leading nine homers.