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Series Preview: 4/30-5/3 Boston Red Sox @ Tampa Bay Rays

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4/30: Josh Beckett vs. Matt Garza (7:08 SS)

5/1: Justin Masterson vs. Andy Sonnanstine (7:38 SS)

5/2: Tim Wakefield vs. Jeff Niemann (7:08 FSF)

5/3: Brad Penny vs. James Shields (1:38 TBS/FS-F)

Well, this series just got a little more important.

 

Same old, same old with Josh Beckett. High octane fastball and a ridiculous curveball that leaves hitters of both hands off balance. He's missing slightly less bats than in the past, although not enough to really make much of a difference, and he's also throwing less strikes. That could potentially make a difference. Assuming the Rays aren't behind 1-2 or 0-2 in every at-bat. 

Masterson is a starter-turned-reliever-turned-starter thanks to the injury to Daisuke Matsuzaka. He's  fastball/slider heavy hurler with some occasional change-up usage. Prepare for a lot of groundballs.

Wakefield. Knuckleballs are ruining baseball!

Penny uses a 92-93 MPH fastball and curve with some split finger action thrown in. He's not getting many batters to follow him out of the zone or whiff in general and he's allowing a ton of homeruns. This could be a fun series finale, or could be sad. Ridiculously sad.  

CA Jason Varitek

1B Kevin Youkilis

2B Dustin Pedroia

3B Mike Lowell

SS Nick Green

LF Jason Bay

CF Jacoby Ellsbury

RF J.D. Drew

DH David Ortiz

Fun fact: we may get to see Jonathan Van Every this series.

And since this is as good as anywhere to talk about playoff odds. Right now, BP has us at 29%, that seems bad, especially in light of the Red Sox 73% and 72%, but I found this amusing. Here are the rest of the AL playoff odds:

Tigers 42%

Mariners 35%

Athletics 32%

Tampa 29%

Angels 27%

Indians 22%

That's it for teams over 20%. Despite having a torrid start, the Rays are still thought of as being pretty decent. Of course, given the Yankees and Red Sox divisional placement, this is pretty moot. Just an interesting fact nonetheless.

The projections really aren't that pretty and it's going to take some very good baseball from here on out to make the playoffs instead of finishing in third place. We all know this team is not as bad as it's playing right now and the most frustrating part is that none of these struggles seem preventable. This is not a miscalculation on Stuart Sternberg, Matthew Silverman, Andrew Friedman, James Click, or Joe Maddon's part. It's just a team-wide depression, and at some point it's going to end.

May as well be tonight.