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Series Preview: 5/8-5/10 Tampa Bay Rays @ Boston Red Sox

5/8: James Shields vs.  Brad Penny (7:10 FSF)

5/9: Scott Kazmir vs. Jon Lester (3:40 FOX)

5/10: Matt Garza vs. Josh Beckett (8:05 ESPN)

Two nationally televised games in two days? Welcome to contender status.

I feel like we've covered these pitchers way too many times for us to only be in the second month of the season. Like, this is going to be the eighth, ninth, and tenth games against the Red Sox already, and we're barely 30 games into the season. That seems like overkill.

 

Anyhow, Penny is probably going to pay close attention to Carl Crawford, or he can get all pouty about Crawford stealing third with two outs and peg him. Which would be great, because then Carl could steal two more on the least preventive battery around.  You know Lester and Beckett better than you know David Price and Wade Davis.

Other things to look forward to during this series:

-          Joe Morgan and Steve Phillips appraising the talent amassed by Chuck LaMar.

-          Attendance jokes.

-          Relocation and contraction quips. Remember, Steve Phillips went from "I'd move them to San Antonio and call them the Saints." to "I love the Rays." within a year.

-          The Rays key to success last season: Well, it took heart. And consistency. And veteran leadership that caused great clubhouse chemistry.

Lineup

C Jason Varitek

1B Kevin Youkilis

2B Dustin Pedroia

3B Mike Lowell

SS Nick Green/Julio Lugo

LF Jason Bay

CF Jacoby Ellsbury

RF J.D. Drew

DH David Ortiz

Prior to the New York series: 33%

After the New York series: 37%