From SBN Tampa Bay. Follow that link for in-game updates.
It took a healthy dose of Daisuke Matsuzaka to get the job done, but the Tampa Bay Rays finally had their offense wake up last night. The Rays shellacked the Red Sox 16-5, scoring almost as many runs in one game as they had in their previous nine games (20). Both teams are now tied in the standings at 2-7, and they face off against tonight at 7:10 PM in a battle of both team's pitching ace: David Price against Jon Lester.
Price has had a rough start to the 2011 season, allowing seven runs in two starts (13 IP) for a 4.85 ERA. While the results haven't been spectacular, Price has posted some decent peripheral numbers: he struck out a batter per inning in his first start, he's only walked two batters in total, and he hasn't allowed a homerun yet. However, he did look rather shaky in his second start of the season, hitting a batter and not generating many swings and misses with his pitches, but it's still early in the year: his slight struggles should improve given time.
And facing the Red Sox could be just the medicine Price needs. The Sox have a very lefty-heavy lineup, and many of their key hitters struggle against left-handed pitchers. While David Ortiz, J.D. Drew, and Jacoby Ellsbury are all not in Boston's lineup, they're still batting Carl Crawford leadoff (.307 wOBA vs. lefties) and Adrian Gonzalez third (.338 wOBA vs. lefties).
On the flip side, Jon Lester has had a mixed bag of results so far this year: he's posted a 3.65 ERA, but his strikeout numbers have been low (around 6.5 K/9) and he's allowed a high number of homeruns (3). He is a dominant lefty starter, though, and those have always given the Rays trouble in the past. While the Rays had an impressive offensive outburst yesterday, tonight's game will likely be a challenge for their batters.
Rays lineup after the jump.
From Marc Topkin:
D. Johnson 1b
E. Johnson ss