Rays (55-79) at Boston (77-54)
7:05; Fenway Park
Well, last night was my first correct game preview prediction, so I'm on a roll. But, sadly, my prediction was a loss, and the Rays held up. But my logic of predicting wins=a loss and predicting a loss=a win. Hopefully we can rebound and avert the sweep tonight vs. a Hernando High alum.
Rays-RH Doug Waechter (5-8, 4.94)
BOS-RH Bronson Arroyo (10-9, 4.44)
BREAKDOWN: The Rays come into tonight having lost the first three games of this four game series in Boston. They leave for a three game set in Toronto following tonight's game.
Taking the mound for the Rays is Northeast grad Doug Waechter, who has continued his decline in ERA, dropping four points in his last start to 4.94. He won his fifth game Saturday vs. Anaheim at the Trop, matching his career high from last year. And he didn't do it by pitching like a schlub, he retired 17 of 18 batters at one point. The last time Waechter faced the Red Sox, July 25th vs. Boston, the Rays won in extra innings 4-3, depriving Waechter of the win. He allowed five runs in that start. Sox hitters have done okay against Waechter. This year, Edgar Renteria is 2 for 7, Trot Nixon is 2 for 5, and Johnny Damon is 3 for 7. But by far the best is David Ortiz, who is 3 for 7 with two runs scored, a double, two homers, and two RBI. The catch? All but one of those Abs came at Tropicana Field, he is hitless at Fenway Park.
Taking the mound for the Red Sox is Hernando High grad Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo has cemented himself in the Sox rotation over the last year and a half or so, including a 4.44 ERA this year. However, Arroyo has struggled as of late, going 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in August, including his last start, where Arroyo went 5.1 IP, blowing a 6 run lead by giving up eight hits and seven earned runs. He is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA against the Rays this season, with his last start coming July 19th vs. the Rays in Boston when he went seven innings, giving up five hits and two runs. Aubrey Huff is 3 for 5 with one run scored, and Nick Green is 2 for 2 with a home run this year against Arroyo.
BOTTOM LINE: The Sox start their fourth righthander of the series tonight against the Rays. Pete LaForest started last night, as I predicted, so Toby Hall will be starting tonight in anticipation of tomorrow's opposing lefty, Scott Downs, and will sit either Saturday or Sunday against righties Josh Towers and David Bush. Anyways, expect a starting infield of (in no particular order) of Lee-Green-Lugo-Cantu, and a starting outfield/DH of Crawford-Gathright-Huff-Gomes. Anyways with Bronson Arroyo having somewhat of a down trend, and with Waechter monvin' on up, I think we salvage the rubber game of this series.
PREDICTION: Rays 6, Boston 4