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The Tampa Bay Rays were the beneficiaries of a stunning September collapse by the Boston Red Sox in 2011, swiping the American League wild card slot on the final day of the regular season. The Red Sox have a chance for payback and delivered the first blow to the Rays by winning Monday’s opener of the four-game series, dropping Tampa Bay five games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the second wild card. It marked Boston’s eighth win in 13 meetings with Tampa Bay.
The Rays did not look the part of contender Monday night, going down meekly after Alex Cobb’s no-hit bid was broken up in the sixth inning. Tampa Bay has lost three straight and six of seven, with Monday’s loss marking the fourth time it has been held to two runs during that span. The Rays expect third baseman Evan Longoria to return to the lineup Tuesday after sitting out the opener to rest his legs. Outfielder Sam Fuld (hamstring) also sat out Monday.
Red Sox Rays Betting
When: 7:10 PM ET, Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), Sun Sports (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Felix Doubront (10-9, 5.11 ERA) vs. Rays RH Jeremy Hellickson (8-10, 3.22)
Doubront has lost five consecutive decisions and three straight starts. He is coming off his best outing in weeks, giving up two runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings against the New York Yankees on Thursday. Doubront is winless in his last eight starts and has surrendered at least four runs in six of them. He won at Tropicana Field on May 17, giving up two runs on six hits, but also was tagged by the Rays for four runs on nine hits on April 15.
Hellickson is 0-2 over his last four starts, even though he’s deserved a better fate after allowing a combined three runs and 12 hits over his last three outings. An inability to pitch deep into games continues to be an issue for the 25-year-old Hellickson, who has gone seven innings only twice in his last 17 outings. He will be making his fifth start against the Red Sox this season, going 1-1 with a 4.38 ERA and surrendering five homers.
1. Hellickson has won only once at Tropicana Field since beating Boston on May 16.
2. Red Sox CF Jacoby Ellsbury has hit in eight of his last nine games, homering twice and driving in seven runs.
3. Rays INF Sean Rodriguez, who came off the disabled list Saturday, made two errors Monday after entering the game as a pinch hitter.