From SBN TB.
After losing their weekend series with the White Sox and falling to a major-league worst 1-8 record, the Tampa Bay Rays head to Fenway Park to take on the Boston Red Sox in the first match-up of the season between the two teams. Jeremy Hellickson will be on the mound tonight for the Rays, and Daisuke Matsuzaka is scheduled to pitch for the Red Sox.
Heralded before the season started as the team to beat in the American League, the Red Sox have also started off very slow. Their pitching has been their main problem, as they have a 6.24 team ERA - by far the worst in the majors. Josh Beckett (2.08 ERA, 3.18 xFIP) and Jon Lester (3.65 ERA, 4.10 xFIP) are the only two pitchers on their staff that have throw well so far this year, withJohn Lackey, Clay Buchholz, and Daisuke Matsuzaka all having considerable struggles in their starts. Their bullpen hasn't been much better, already blowing one game against the Indians and holding a collective 6.23 ERA, 6.18 FIP.
The Rays have had their own struggles so far this season, but their problem is the opposite of the Red Sox: their pitching has been decent, but their offense has been anemic. The Rays currently have a .163/.232/.284 team slashline, good for a collective .515 OPS. With Manny Ramirez's recent retirement and Evan Longoria's injury, the Rays are desperately lacking punch in their lineup.
Bad offense or bad pitching: which will prove victorious?